Ukrainian President Zelenskyy arrives in Japan for 2023 G-7 Summit

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived Saturday in Japan for diplomatic talks with leaders of the world’s most powerful democracies participating in the Group of Seven (G7) after the U.S. pledged to train Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 jet fighters.

“Japan. G7. Important meetings with partners and friends of Ukraine. Security and enhanced cooperation for our victory,” Zelenskyy wrote in a Twitter post upon his arrival in Japan. “Peace will become closer today.”

Confirmation of Zelenskyy’s in-person attendance came as G-7 leaders from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Japan and the European Union, reaffirmed their “commitment to stand together against Russia’s illegal, unjustifiable, and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine.”

“Our support for Ukraine will not waver,” the G-7 leaders said in a statement on Friday, vowing “to stand together against Russia’s illegal, unjustifiable, and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine.”

“Russia started this war and can end this war,” they said

The Ukrainian president was originally scheduled to join an online session on Friday, but plans changed after he expressed a “strong wish” to participate in person, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

An EU official told the Associated Press that Zelenskyy will take part in two separate sessions Sunday.

The first session will be with G-7 members only and will focus on the war in Ukraine. The second session will include the G-7 as well as the other nations invited to take part in the summit, and will focus on “peace and stability.”

Ahead of Zelenskyy’s participation at the G-7, the group announced it will provide Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets and train Ukrainian pilots to fly them.

Zelenskyy welcomed Biden’s decision, saying in a tweet it would “greatly enhance our army in the sky.”

A senior administration official told reporters as “the training takes place over the coming months, our coalition of countries participating in this effort will decide when to actually provide jets, how many we will provide and who will provide them.” The program will include training on F-16s among other fighter planes, with the program set to take place over the coming months at sites in Europe.

Zelenskyy’s arrival in Japan marks the longest trip since Russia’s invasion in Ukraine in February 2022.

A chartered French government plane brought President Zelenskyy to the Arab League Summit in Saudi Arabia before flying to Hiroshima, Japan for the G-7.

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