Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived in Japan on Saturday to join discussions at the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima, making his first trip to the Asian nation since Russia launched its war against his country.
Zelenskyy, who has already entered the summit venue in the city in western Japan, is expected to drum up more support for his Eastern European country in pushing back against Russia's aggression that has continued for over a year.
He will attend summit sessions and likely deliver a speech on Sunday, the final day of the G-7 gathering that has brought together leaders from Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and the United States, plus the European Union.
"Japan. G7. Important meetings with partners and friends of Ukraine. Security and enhanced cooperation for our victory," Zelenskyy tweeted. "Peace will become closer today."
Zelenskyy's attendance at the G-7 summit will be the culmination of a recent flurry of diplomatic efforts, with his country in need of more military equipment ahead of a planned counter-offensive against Russia.
He held a series of talks with leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday.
In talks with Macron, the Ukrainian president expressed his appreciation for the support he has received.
Zelenskyy traveled to Italy, Germany, France and Britain earlier this month. He was in Saudi Arabia to attend the Arab League Summit before heading to Asia and he arrived at Hiroshima airport on Saturday afternoon aboard a French government plane.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who chairs the summit, invited Zelenskyy to the G-7 summit during his trip on March 21 to Ukraine, and at that time they agreed Zelenskyy would participate online, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.
But the Ukrainian president later expressed a "strong" desire to join the event in person, the ministry said in a press release.
"After carefully considering the summit agenda and schedules, we decided that we will hold a session on Ukraine among the G-7 leaders, with the in-person attendance of President Zelenskyy, on the final day of the summit," it said.
Zelenskyy will attend as a guest a session on "peace and stability" between the leaders of the G-7 and invited non-member nations on the final day. He also plans to hold talks with Kishida.
Kishida is also arranging to visit with the Ukrainian president a Hiroshima museum documenting the devastation caused by a U.S. atomic bomb in 1945, according to a government source.
The G-7 leaders, including from nuclear powers Britain, France, and the United States, visited the facility a day before and demonstrated their strong opposition to any threat or use of nuclear weapons by Russia in its war against its neighbor.
Zelenskyy last visited Japan in October 2019 to attend Emperor Naruhito's enthronement ceremony in Tokyo and to hold talks with then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.