G7 Leaders in Hiroshima Vow to Support Ukraine

Zelensky will attend summit on Sunday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 19, 2023 6:52 AM CDT
In Hiroshima, G7 Leaders Vow to Tighten Russia Sanctions
Leaders of the Group of Seven nations' meetings walk before the Atomic Bomb Dome during a visit to the Peace Memorial Park as part of the G7 Leaders' Summit in Hiroshima, western Japan on Friday, May 19, 2023.   (Brendan Smialowski/Pool Photo via AP)

Leaders of the world’s most powerful democracies vowed Friday to tighten punishments on Russia for its 15-month invasion of Ukraine, days before Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky joins the Group of Seven summit in person on Sunday. "Our support for Ukraine will not waver," the G7 leaders said in a statement released after closed-door meetings in Hiroshima, Japan, vowing "to stand together against Russia’s illegal, unjustifiable, and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine." "Russia started this war and can end this war," they said.

Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, confirmed on national television that Zelensky would attend the summit, the AP reports. "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. "There will be very important matters decided there, so physical presence is a crucial thing to defend our interests." Zelensky on Friday opened a visit to Saudi Arabia, where Arab leaders were holding a separate summit.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats against Ukraine have resonated with Japan’s push to make nuclear disarmament a major part of the summit. World leaders Friday visited a peace park dedicated to the tens of thousands who died in the world’s first wartime atomic bomb detonation. After group photos near the city's iconic bombed-out dome, a wreath-laying, and a symbolic cherry tree planting, a new round of sanctions were unveiled against Moscow, with a focus on redoubling efforts to enforce existing sanctions meant to stifle Russia's war effort and hold accountable those behind it, a US official said. Russia is now the most-sanctioned country in the world, but there are questions about the effectiveness of the financial penalties.

(More Group of Seven stories.)

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