© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks to the media at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, May 14, 2023. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
By Jeff Mason and Katya Golubkova
HIROSHIMA, Japan (Reuters) -Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy arrived in the Japanese city of Hiroshima on Saturday to meet leaders of the world’s richest democracies and drum up support for the defence against Russia’s invasion of his country.
Zelenskiy’s presence at the Group of Seven summit in a city that was the first to suffer a nuclear attack cast into sharp relief western governments’ concerns over the nuclear threat posed by Russia.
The Hiroshima summit comes as G7 members are faced with the immense challenges posed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and tensions with China, notably over Taiwan.
Zelenskiy, wearing his customary olive green fatigues, stepped out of a French government aircraft and moved quickly to a waiting car, footage from Japanese broadcasters showed.
Moments later he tweeted: “Japan. G7. Important meetings with partners and friends of Ukraine.”
His arrival comes after G7 members warned that countries attempting to use trade as a weapon would face “consequences”, sending a strong signal to China over practices Washington has long said amount to economic bullying.
French and European officials said it was crucial that Zelenskiy came in person first to the Arab League and now to the G7, where members of the Global South are attending, in order to outline Ukraine’s view as the victim of an attack by Russia and how he saw a peace settlement in the future.
“We have to use all the means to bind non-aligned states to the cause of the defence of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” a French presidential official told reporters.
Zelenskiy will hold bilateral meetings with G7 leaders, but significantly also the leaders of India and Brazil, two countries that have not distanced themselves from Moscow.
He is due to hold a session on Sunday with the G7 before a broader session with the Global South attendees.