G7 Awaits Zelensky Arrival, Ukraine Accesses F-16 Jets

European Council President Charles Michel holds a press conference in Hiroshima, Japan on May 19, 2023.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will attend the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, where major Western powers agreed to new sanctions against Russia and the United States opened an authorization to supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets.

Zelensky’s visit, unannounced, will give him the opportunity to meet with the leaders of the seven industrialized economies (US, Canada, Japan, France, UK, Germany and Italy) that support his country financially and militarily. Against the Russian invasion.

He will be able to reach out to non-aligned countries like India and Brazil, which have close ties with Russia.

According to diplomatic sources, the Ukrainian president will arrive in France on Saturday and meet his US counterpart, Joe Biden, White House National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan confirmed.

Zelensky will also hold bilateral meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Biden has expressed his willingness to support training programs for Ukrainian pilots on F-16 aircraft.

„As the exercise unfolds in the coming months, our coalition of nations participating in this initiative will decide when to provide aircraft, how many and who will provide them,” a senior White House official said.

Zelensky, who has been pushing for the planes for months, described the U.S. announcement as „historic” and said he wanted to „discuss the practical application” of the program once he arrives at the summit, which begins and ends Friday. Sunday..

Several European countries, such as the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, announced on Tuesday that they would work in an „international alliance” to get F-16 jets to Ukraine.

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Delivery of US-made fighter jets requires Washington’s approval.

Zelensky has stepped up meetings with foreign leaders in recent days, seeking military support to launch a counteroffensive in territories occupied by Russia after its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

– 'Essential Existence’ –

The president has already left Ukraine and traveled to Saudi Arabia this Friday to attend an Arab League summit and meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who maintains close ties to both Russia and China.

„Very important matters will be decided, which is why the presence of our president is absolutely necessary to protect our interests,” said Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the Ukrainian Security Council.

In Hiroshima, which was hit by the first atomic bomb in history in 1945, G7 leaders announced they were tightening their sanctions against Russia and expressed concern about China’s nuclear weapons buildup.

The G7 also announced measures that would „deprive Russia of G7 technology, industrial equipment and services that sustain its war machine” on Ukrainian soil.

The package includes restrictions on the export of goods „vital to Russia on the battlefield” and a crackdown on companies accused of bringing goods forward for Moscow’s benefit.

Hours earlier, the US announced it was restricting Russia’s access to „products necessary for its warfighting capabilities” by banning exports to 70 Russian and other companies.

– Sanctions on Russian Diamonds –

The United Kingdom and the European Union announced restrictions against the Russian diamond industry, whose trade is worth $4,000 to $5,000 million a year and is the Kremlin’s main source of income.

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In its statement, the G7 pledged to „restrict the trade and use of diamonds mined, treated or produced in Russia.”

The UAE, India and Belgium, a member of the European Union, are among the main importers of Russian diamonds.

G7 leaders could make their case for the move directly to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose country has close military ties to Russia and has refused to condemn the Ukraine invasion.

India, Brazil and Indonesia were among eight non-member countries of the forum invited to Hiroshima.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva held his first bilateral meeting with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Japan.

„We talked about the expansion of Brazil-Australia relations, the Women’s Soccer World Cup. [previsto en Australia y Nueva Zelanda en julio y agosto]And I got an invitation to go to Australia,” Lula said on her Twitter account.

Before starting the summit, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida, who hails from Hiroshima, welcomed the other six G7 leaders one by one at the Peace Memorial Park.

Together they paid tribute to the approximately 140,000 victims of the American atomic bomb on August 6, 1945.

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