UPDATE: Zelensky arrives at G7 Summit after F-16 agreement

Zelensky arrives at G7 Summit after F-16 agreement

UPDATE: Zelensky arrives at G7 Summit after F-16 agreement Credit: Albert-Beukhof Shutterstock.com

Updated: Saturday, May 20, at 1:43 pm

Ukraine’s President Zelensky has now arrived at the G7 summit in Hiroshima, with warm greetings from world leaders ready to up their support to Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets. 

The Kyiv Independent posted a phot0 of his arrival on Twitter:

“Zelensky arrives in Japan for G7 summit. ‘Japan. G7. Important meetings with partners and friends of Ukraine. Security and enhanced cooperation for our victory. Peace will become closer today,’ Zelensky tweeted upon arriving.”

Zelensky was treated with a notably warm hug from UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, with their bond seeming to become deeper over the UK’s pledges of support in the current war with Russia.

Sunak posted an image of the two of them together on Twitter saying: “Ukraine, we’re not going anywhere.”

Talks at the summit have moved onto China, even though they have tended to use the veiled term of a ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’. They refer to China’s increasing boldness in claiming territory in the South China Sea, despite their claims being ruled to have no legal basis by an international arbitral ruling in 2016.

China – foreseeing these territorial discussions – had already put out a statement saying: “Resolving the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese”.

The statement went on to say that the G7 should: “stop grossly interfering in other countries’ internal affairs and stop the practice of forming small circles for bloc confrontation”.

On the matter of China’s territorial claim over Taiwan, French President Emanuel Macron was keen to note that France would not be involved in disputes between the US and China, with the latter seeing Taiwan as a breakaway province.

In more direct reference to China, and pointing to Western dependency on the ever-growing world power, discussions of being more independent of China’s resources have taken place. Delegates were keen to point out that these moves should not be seen as the West seeking to hinder China’s economic development.

Saturday, May 20, at 9:27 am

Amid increased Russian strikes on Kyiv, the US has given the go-ahead for its allies to supply fighter jets including the F-16 to Ukraine. 

The news was revealed at the G7 Summit – currently taking place in Hiroshima – where those gathered will be joined by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Zelensky called the decision ‘historic’ as he has long sought these advanced jets.

The decision required approval from the US as the jets, which have already been sold to Western allies, will need to be re-exported. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has already promised training to Ukrainian pilots.

Sunak posted on Twitter saying: “Welcome announcement that the US will approve the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets. The UK will work together with the USA and the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark to get Ukraine the combat air capability it needs. We stand united.”

Mr Zelensky responded to Mr Sunak’s post on Twitter saying: “I welcome the historic decision of the United States and @POTUS to support an international fighter jet coalition. This will greatly enhance our army in the sky. I count on discussing the practical implementation of this decision at the #G7 summit in Hiroshima.”

Although Ukraine is believed to have currently more trained pilots than jets, training on a new plane like the F-16 could take up to four months so deployment may not be immediate for all the jets delivered.

Despite the US previously stating that the F-16s that Zelensky sought wouldn’t be needed in Ukraine, it is believed these capabilities will be required now as the counter-offensive against Russia mounts.

With the UK, Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark welcoming the move to provide Ukraine with advanced fighter jets, it now remains to be seen how quickly they can enact this and get Ukrainian pilots active in the conflict.

President Zelensky will arrive in Hiroshima today with the hope of quickly putting his air defence plans into action with the help of gathered G7 leaders.

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Written by

David Laycock

Dave Laycock has always written. Poems, songs, essays, academic papers as well as newspaper articles; the written word has always held a great fascination for him and he is never happier than when being creative. From a musical background, Dave has travelled the world performing and also examining for a British music exam board. He also writes, produces and performs and records music. All this aside, he is currently fully focussed on his journalism and can’t wait to share more stories from around the world and beyond.