Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will attend the Group of Seven (G-7) summit in Hiroshima, Japan this weekend, a Ukrainian security official has said, putting further pressure on Russia with the backdrop of a city synonymous with the horrors of nuclear war.
Zelenski will attend the meeting on Sunday, the third and final day, confirmed two sources involved in the preparations for the G-7. “Very important things will be decided there, and therefore the presence of our president is absolutely essential to defend our interests,” Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksi Danilov told state television.
The presence of our president is absolutely essential
Zelensky’s presence, and his calls for greater support for Ukraine in its conflict with Moscow, will add drama and urgency to the meeting. The leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States are already expected to announce new sanctions against Russia and closer collaboration to counter China. The Ukrainian president is expected to arrive in Hiroshima on Saturday afternoon, according to one of the sources.
Earlier on Friday, G-7 leaders laid wreaths in Hiroshima, the city that, along with Nagasaki, was destroyed by a US nuclear attack 78 years ago that ended World War II. It is expected that during the summit, in addition to tightening sanctions, they will discuss the strategy to follow in a conflict that has lasted for more than a year and shows no sign of abating.
After rising to the world’s wealthiest nations in the post-World War II era, the G-7 democracies have found themselves increasingly challenged by a rising China and an unpredictable Russia. The United Kingdom assured that it plans to announce a ban on Russian diamonds -to which the European Council will also join- and on imports of metals from the country led by Vladimir Putin, including copper, aluminum and nickel, in support to Ukraine. The restrictions will also target 86 other individuals and companies in Putin’s military-industrial complex, as well as those involved in the energy, metals and shipping industries.
The United States, for its part, is preparing to add 70 entities to its export blacklist and expand its sanctions authority to 300 entities, as well as new sectors of the Russian economy, according to a senior US administration official. .
Russia has declared that it is ready to use its nuclear arsenal to defend its “territorial integrity” if necessary.