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Zelenskyy arrives in Japan for talks with G7 leaders

Leaders of the world’s leading industrialized democracies cleared the decks for the arrival of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who toppled Japan on Saturday.

The release of the communique, usually done on the final day of the annual G7 summit, was expected to be tabled by today, a senior Canadian official said at the start of the second day of the three-day meeting in Hiroshima.

“This changes the way the summit starts a bit, doesn’t it?” said a senior official with knowledge of the matter but was not authorized to speak publicly.

Zelensky, who arrived on a French government plane, is scheduled to meet with all the leaders and brief them on the progress of the war against Russia.

Zelensky will also address the observer countries

However, among the leaders of non-aligned countries invited to the annual meeting as an observer is where Ukraine’s president can make the most progress.

“I think the global south voted overwhelmingly with the G7, but they didn’t participate in the sanctions,” the official said, referring to votes at the United Nations last year condemning Moscow’s all-out invasion of Ukraine.

“They did not participate in any total condemnation. I think that Zelensky being here in person and presumably able to make his case directly to those leaders bilaterally, he can emphasize that security is integral.”

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky gives a speech in Rome.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, on display in Rome last week, is expected to make his case in person to officials from countries outside the G7. (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images)

Indian media reports on Saturday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Zelensky will meet on the sidelines of a meeting in Japan, their first face-to-face meeting since Russian troops launched a full-scale offensive on February 24, 2022.

The two leaders talked by phone twice.

“I think it’s an opportunity for Zelensky this time to make his case in person, which is more difficult to do via Zoom,” the Canadian official said.

Advanced military aircraft

G7 leaders have held talks on a proposal to train and supply advanced military aircraft to Ukraine, the official added.

US President Joe Biden has told allies he will support joint training efforts involving allied F-16s. Ukraine has argued for months that it needs advanced fighter jets to retake territory it lost to the Russians at the start of the war.

Separately, the topic of foreign interference was raised by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a working dinner with other leaders on Friday night.

WATCH |: The meeting of G7 leaders is dedicated to Russia, nuclear disarmament.

The meeting of the leaders of the “Great Seven” is dedicated to Russia, nuclear disarmament

G7 leaders are meeting in Hiroshima, Japan, and are calling on Moscow to return to nuclear disarmament efforts while imposing new sanctions on Russians supporting the war in Ukraine.

“The prime minister brought it up … quite significantly at the foreign policy dinner,” said the official, who suggested that the final communiqué would contain some language Canada insists is related to foreign interference by countries like China.

The official said it was not only interference with democratic institutions, but also economic issues such as intellectual property theft.

The G7, made up of the U.S., Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada, is increasingly focused, U.S. officials say, on managing what they see as significant security risks with China while maintaining important trade links with the country.

G7 leaders planned to outline steps in their communique to protect sensitive technology, including outbound investment funds, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters at a briefing in Hiroshima on Saturday.

He said the group’s members sought “risk-free rather than disengagement” from China.

Leaders will outline a set of common tools to address economic enforcement, including steps to build more resilient supply chains and efforts to protect sensitive technologies through export controls and outbound investment measures, Sullivan said.

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