Ukraine's President Zelenskyy to travel thousands of miles to Japan to attend G-7 meeting

G-7 leaders walk to a flower wreath laying ceremony at a Hiroshima memorial for atomic bomb victims in Hiroshima, Japan on May 19, 2023.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will attend the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima, Japan in person on Sunday, a trip that will mark one of the farthest distances he has traveled from Ukraine since Russia's invasion.

Zelenskyy's expected appearance at the annual meeting of leaders of the world’s most powerful democracies was confirmed by Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council.

“We were sure that our president would be where Ukraine needed him, in any part of the world, to solve the issue of stability of our country,” Danilov said Friday on Ukrainian national television. “There will be very important matters decided there, so physical presence is a crucial thing to defend our interests."

Japan is about 5,000 miles from Ukraine. Zelenskyy traveled a similar distance to Washington, D.C. in December last year. The war in Ukraine is one of the top items on the agenda in Hiroshima. Zelensky's attendance will come as G-7 countries − the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan − unveiled fresh sanctions on Russia over its invasion. He is expected to appear virtually at the summit on Friday.

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Over the last week, Ukraine's leader has undertaken a diplomatic blitz of Europe, visiting Germany, France, Italy and the U.K. to drum up military and financial support as Ukraine hopes to turn the tide of the war with a heavily signaled impending counteroffensive against Russian forces. Zelenskyy's trip to Japan also comes as peace initiatives led by China and some African countries have been met with skepticism in Kyiv and western capitals.

"Nobody wants peace more than the Ukrainian people. We are on our land and (are) fighting for our future, exercising our inalienable right to self-defense," Zelenskyy said in a phone call with China's leader Xi Jinping last month. "There can be no peace at the expense of territorial compromises."

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