June 2, 2023

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Zelensky arrives in Japan to attend G7 summit, and Biden agrees to supply F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine

Receipt President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky Saturday to participate in the missions to Hiroshima G7 SummitAfter getting the US green light to supply his country with the advanced F-16 fighter jets that Kiev desperately wants and to train Ukrainian pilots.

And at Hiroshima airport, a French plane carrying Zelensky from Saudi Arabia, where he was due to attend an Arab League conference, landed on Friday, and a red carpet was rolled out, according to AFP reporters.

Intervention of France 24 representative in Ukraine

The trip will be an opportunity to consult with allies such as President Joe Biden, but is also likely to draw key non-aligned powers to the summit, including India and Brazil, which have refused to condemn Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. A target for Zelensky’s diplomacy.

The unexpected visit follows a breakthrough in his relentless efforts to convince Washington of his country’s need for F-16 fighter jets, after he earlier announced his participation via video call. Ukraine is developing these planes to supply Ukraine, but Washington’s support is critical because its approval is legally required to re-export US equipment purchased by allies.

Zelensky said Saturday that “peace will be close” as a result of the G7 summit meetings, after a diplomatic source confirmed his arrival in Hiroshima. The Ukrainian president said in a post on social networking sites: “Japan. G7. Important meetings with Ukraine’s allies and friends. Intensive security and cooperation so we can win. Peace will be closer today.”

Seven summit .. Ukraine and thorny issues

Long and expensive pilot training periods, which the US has previously cited as reasons for not providing fighter jets, officials insist there are more cost-effective ways to bolster Kiev’s air defenses. But now it looks like the F-16s will join the list of advanced systems, including Western tanks and long-range weapons, that Ukraine’s allies have agreed to supply after initial reluctance.

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On Friday, Biden told leaders G7 in Japan Washington will now support the request, a “historic decision” Zelensky hailed. Zelensky said he would meet with Biden in Hiroshima to discuss the “practical implementation” of the plan, and the White House said Biden “looks forward” to the talks without setting a date.

Also, National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan emphasized that the decision regarding the flights did not reflect a change in US policy. He told reporters in Hiroshima: “Nothing has changed. Our approach to providing weapons, equipment and training to the Ukrainians followed the needs of the conflict.”

Zelensky’s presence in Hiroshima will have major implications for the remaining two days of the summit, as Ukraine will divert attention from a long list of other thorny issues, including addressing concerns about China’s growing military and economic power.

France 24 reporter intervention in Japan

On the other hand, Zelensky said that the Japanese Foreign Ministry will include invited non-member countries in Sunday’s talks on Ukraine with the leaders of the Group of Seven, in addition to the session on “peace and stability.” to the summit. The President of Ukraine is scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron and Japanese Prime Minister Bumio Kishida in Hiroshima.

The Group of Seven earlier announced new sanctions against Moscow, and vowed on Friday to “starve” the Russian “war machine”.

“Economic Coercion and the Weaponization of Trade”

Saturday’s sessions will address “economic coercion” and how to diversify key sectors and supply chains. “What we’ve done over the last 20 years with China to stimulate growth is right, but we could have been more careful about key commodities and supply chains and those elements,” an EU official said. The same source added, “I think the goal of all the G7 leaders is to say that China follows a systematic policy of obtaining critical raw materials and controlling supply chains (…)

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Any attempt to “weaponize” trade and supply chains will “fail and face consequences,” Group of Seven leaders warned on Saturday, in a veiled warning to Beijing about its economic practices. “Efforts to weaponize economic dependence by forcing our partners, including G7 members and smaller economies, to respond and comply will fail and face consequences,” the group said in a statement, which did not directly mention China.

Earlier Saturday, the US national security adviser said the G7 would agree on a “common set of tools” to combat economic “coercion” and reduce the risk of high-tech exports to China undermining national security.

This, and talks with non-member countries, come amid efforts by G-7 leaders to convince developing countries of their ability to provide diplomatic and economic alternatives to countries such as China.

France 24/AFP