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Before his travel to Japan, Zelensky accused some Arab leaders of turning a blind eye to conflict.

Volodymyr Zelensky has accused several Arab leaders of “turning a blind eye” to Russia’s incursion in advance of his upcoming trip to the G7 in Japan.

Mr. Zelensky will see President Biden “in the coming days,” according to Ukraine.

Mr. Zelensky was in Saudi Arabia on Friday for an Arab League summit.

Only Syria has openly endorsed Russia’s incursion among Arab League members. Others have attempted to keep good relations with Moscow.

“Unfortunately, there are some around the world and among you who turn a blind eye to those [prisoner of war] cages and illegal annexations,” Mr Zelensky added.

“I’m here so that everyone can take an honest look, because no matter how hard the Russians try to influence, there must still be independence.”

Mr Zelensky also told the assembled leaders in Jeddah that his country was defending itself against colonialists and imperialists, seemingly invoking the Arab world’s own history of invasion and occupation.

Saudi Arabia has walked a fine line in the conflict, supporting a UN resolution calling on Russia to withdraw its troops and pledging $400 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine while resisting imposing sanctions on Russia, preferring to see itself as neutral in the conflict.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reiterated Saudi Arabia’s willingness to mediate between Moscow and Kiev in order to resolve the conflict at the summit.

Syria, however, has just recently been readmitted to the Arab League; its leader, Bashar al-Assad, told the summit that the region now had a historic opportunity to restructure itself without international meddling.

Mr Zelensky also targeted Iran, which is not a member of the Arab League, for supplying Russia with Shahed drones. Iran has denied providing drones for the fight.

The Ukrainian president will travel from Saudi Arabia to the G7 summit, where he will meet with US Vice President Joe Biden.

Mr. Zelensky’s office told Ukrainian media that the two men would meet “in the next few days” in Japan.

On Friday, the meeting began with a renewed criticism of Russia and the introduction of new penalties.

The United States, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, and Japan comprise the world’s richest democracies. This year, eight extra countries have been invited, including Australia and India.

G7 leaders visit a shrine in Hiroshima, Japan, with a priest. 19th of May, 2023
On the first day of the summit, G7 leaders imposed new penalties on Russia.
Mr Zelensky’s trip to Japan will be his farthest journey from Kyiv since the war began in February 2022.

Mr Zelensky has recently visited Italy, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom, where he has secured guarantees of military assistance. He also continues to press partners to supply modern fighter jets to Ukraine, although no country has committed to doing so directly.

When he arrives in Hiroshima, he will almost certainly try to persuade more cautious leaders, such as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to lend assistance.

“By showing up in person, he has a chance to ensure that he does not come away empty-handed, and that he will head back to Kyiv with his arms full of the weapons deals that he wants,” said John Kirton, director of the G7 Research Group think tank.

Though Japan has been extremely supportive of Ukraine, its strict military restrictions have meant that it has only sent non-lethal defense equipment thus far.

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Mr Kishida had earlier brought G7 leaders to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, where they placed wreaths to honor those who died in the US atomic explosion that expedited the end of World War Two.

The first day of the summit concluded with a statement in which member countries announced “new steps” to end the war in Ukraine and threatened additional sanctions to “increase the costs to Russia and those who support its war effort.”

They stated that they would “starve Russia of G7 technology, industrial equipment, and services that support its war machine” and would reduce Russia’s revenue from oil and diamond sales.

Separately, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told the BBC that the UK would penalize the Russian diamond industry and pursue more people and businesses associated with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Russian foreign ministry imposed penalties against 500 US citizens, including former US President Barack Obama, in response to what it called “anti-Russian” US measures.

The G7 summit, which concludes on Sunday, is anticipated to conclude with a communique on the Ukraine conflict.


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