"Ukraine offers the world salvation from war" – Zelenskiy pushes peace proposal and garners further support at G7 summit in Japan.

Zelenskiy met with world leaders in Hiroshima, Japan / Zelenskiy Twitter account
By Dominic Culverwell in London May 22, 2023

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had a “busy day of diplomacy” at the G7 summit in Hiroshima, meeting with world leaders and reiterating the importance of Kyiv’s 10-point peace plan on May 21.

The Ukrainian leader arrived in Japan on May 20, halfway through the three-day conference in which Russia’s full-scale invasion and China’s foreign policy dominated discussions. Thanking the G7 countries for their support, Zelenskiy sought to increase assistance, securing a $375mn military package from the USA and military support from Japan.

“Until now, the world has not had a formula that could stop aggressors. Ukraine offers it. Ukraine offers the world salvation from war. To do this, we need to unite and make Russia the last aggressor. So that only peace reigns after the defeat of its invasion of Ukraine,” he stated at the summit, according to the Office of the President of Ukraine.

President of Japan Fumio Kishida welcomed Zelenskiy and said that the G7 leaders were “more united than ever” over their support for Ukraine against Russia. Kishida promised to continue supporting Ukraine in “all aspects”, including sanctions against Russia, and announced that Tokyo will provide Ukraine with 100 military vehicles and 30,000 food kits, and the possibility of accepting wounded Ukrainian soldiers.

Shortly after Zelenskiy met with US President Joe Biden, Washington announced a $375mn package which includes ammunition for HIMARS rocket launchers and artillery rounds in addition to Javelin anti-tank missiles and AT-4 anti-armour systems, the Kyiv Independent reported. The US pledged further support for Ukraine to meet “its immediate battlefield needs and longer-term security assistance requirements."

At the summit, Biden confirmed a training programme for Ukrainian pilots to use Western fighter jets, including the F-16 that Kyiv is eager to get, following the same decision from European allies last week. However, details about when training will begin and when jets will be delivered to Ukraine remain under wraps.

Zelenskiy noted the effectiveness of Western air defence systems in shooting down Russian missiles, including hypersonic missiles, but emphasised that Western fighter jets are still needed for a complete “air shield” as strikes continue to devastate cities. Kyiv also stressed the importance of the planes on the battlefield to secure an air advantage over Russia.

"When our pilots know the F-16 and when these machines appear in our skies, it will be important not just for Ukraine," Zelenskiy said. "This will be a historic moment for the entire security architecture in Europe and the world."

Touring the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the Ukrainian leader compared Ukraine’s war-torn settlements to the destruction of the Japanese city after the US dropped the "Little Boy" nuclear bomb in World War 2.

“Even though the enemy uses non-nuclear weapons, the ruins of our cities, which were burned to the ground by Russian bombs and artillery, are similar to what I have just seen here,” he said.

“Hiroshima is a rebuilt city now. And we dream of rebuilding all of our cities that are now in ruins, and every village where not a single house is left intact after Russian strikes,” he added.

Highlighting Russia’s occupation of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), Zelenskiy underlined the urgency of transferring control back to Ukraine and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to guarantee nuclear safety. “Russia must abandon radiation and nuclear blackmail of the world,” he stated.

Kishida denounced Russia’s nuclear threats as “unacceptable” and pledged $7.6bn towards Ukraine’s reconstruction efforts, the Kyiv Independent reported. This follows a $400mn grant issued in March to restore critical infrastructure.

Speaking at an event called "Towards a peaceful, stable and prosperous world”, Zelenskiy invited the attendees, including the G7 nations and South Korea, Brazil and Australia, to the “Summit of the Peace Formula” which will be held in July to mark 500 days of the full-scale invasion. Details are not yet known, but Kyiv is expected to push its ten-point peace plan proposed at the G20 summit in November last year. The withdrawal of Russian troops and the restoration of Ukraine’s territory is a key component of the proposal.

The day before arriving in Japan, Zelenskiy attended a summit in Saudi Arabia of Arab nations. He encouraged attendees to support Ukraine and warned of Russian influence in the region, which has deterred many countries from openly supporting Ukraine. Zelenskiy outlined his peace proposal during a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), who helped release foreign prisoners of war captured by Russia in September 2022.

“The world hears our position. Protection and security guarantees, the return of all our territories, all our people, justice, the implementation of our Peace Formula,” the Ukrainian President said in a video address whilst flying back to Kyiv, marking the end of an intensive three days of touring the world.

“We have an understanding with the world majority on every important point for Ukraine. And together we will increase Ukraine's potential,” he added.

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