Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy would consider attending this year's Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima if invited, the country's envoy to Japan has said, highlighting the importance of sending a warning against the use of nuclear arms from the Japanese city once ravaged by an atomic bomb.
A visit by Zelenskyy to the western Japan city will be "a significant opportunity," Ukraine Ambassador to Japan Sergiy Korsunsky said during a recent interview. The Ukrainian leader has traveled to the United States and some European countries to seek support as Russia's war against Ukraine continues but has not yet visited Asia.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, representing the only country to have suffered atomic bombings in war, hopes to demonstrate his leadership in nuclear disarmament issues during the G-7 summit in May amid fears that Russia might use an atomic device against Ukraine in the ongoing war.
Korsunsky said Ukraine faces greater nuclear threats than any other nation today, and he hopes the G-7 members -- Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, plus the European Union -- would seriously discuss ways to address such fears.
"Ukraine clearly has a say" in the issue, the ambassador said, adding that nuclear threats are a global matter, touching on North Korea's nuclear development program and China's military buildup.
Delivering Ukraine's message to G-7 leaders in person, rather than virtually, will be important, Korsunsky said, while acknowledging that ensuring the safety of the Ukrainian president during his possible trip to Japan would be a challenge.
"President Zelenskyy has gone to the United States, Britain and France. He will get on a plane to meet other leaders," the ambassador said.
According to a Japanese government source, Kishida has invited Zelenskyy to an online G-7 summit on Feb. 24, which falls on the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Zelenskyy's visit to Hiroshima may be discussed during the talks.
The ambassador, meanwhile, called on Kishida to join other countries' leaders in visiting Ukraine to see the devastation firsthand. However, any plans have been pending, apparently due to security reasons.
In January, the Ukrainian government invited Kishida to visit Ukraine. Kishida has said he will consider the trip if the right conditions are met.
Ukraine will "do everything in its power" to address security concerns, the ambassador assured, while hoping Kishida "would see with his own eyes what has happened to Ukraine" by touring not only the capital Kyiv but also places such as Bucha, a town where many civilians were found dead following an occupation by Russian troops.
Among the G-7 countries, British, Canadian, French, German, and Italian leaders have already visited Ukraine since the war began. In December, U.S. President Joe Biden also held a summit with Zelenskyy in Washington.
The summit in Hiroshima is scheduled for three days from May 19.