There was yet another twist in the soap opera about the participation or not of the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, in the G-7 meeting in Japan. This Friday (19), head of cabinet of the Ukrainian government, Andrei Yermak, said that Zelensky will personally go to the summit and should still have a bilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden.
“Ukraine will very quickly have everything it needs to protect our skies, our cities and our citizens,” Yermak said, referring to plans to build an international coalition to defend Ukraine’s airspace.
Until then, the news was that Zelensky would not attend the summit, contrary to what was previously announced in the main media, but would participate via videoconference. The information was released by the press service of the National Security Council of Ukraine (NSDC).
Earlier, the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksiy Danilov, had said that the president would personally attend the summit, as “very important things would be decided” there. “Our president’s presence is absolutely necessary to protect our interests,” he said.
A Bloomberg had also reported that Zelensky would travel to the Japanese city of Hiroshima to attend the summit, despite the publication itself citing that the Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, had confirmed the presence of the Ukrainian president. Kishida specified that the Ukrainian leader would attend the meeting on Sunday (21) in a virtual format.
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This Friday (19th), Zelensky arrived in Saudi Arabia to participate in the Arab League summit. In a post on Twitter, the Ukrainian leader declared that he intends to discuss bilateral cooperation with the Arab country, including peace formulas and “the return of the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine”.
Zelensky’s participation in the Arab League summit was seen as a surprise, considering the neutral stance that Saudi Arabia has been adopting in relation to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
G7 steps up pressure on Russia
The expectation is that the G7 summit will be marked by the strengthening of sanctions by Western countries against Russia in the context of the war in Ukraine. According to a White House source, quoted by the Russian agency RIA Novostithe G7 should result in new measures to isolate Moscow.
“I think tomorrow you will see new moves to economically isolate Russia and its ability to wage war. In particular, you will see additional commitments towards Ukraine,” says the source.
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This Friday (19) the G7 countries, in a joint statement, assured that Ukraine will have the necessary budgetary support for this year and the beginning of 2024. The West’s commitment to provide military and financial aid to Kiev was also renewed.
“Today we are taking new steps to ensure that Russia’s illegal aggression against the sovereign state of Ukraine fails and to support the Ukrainian people in their quest for a just peace rooted in respect for international law,” the statement said.
Editing: Nicolau Soares