Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is en route to Kyiv early Tuesday for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Kishida was seen riding a train from Poland heading to Kyiv. The surprise visit of Kishida to Ukraine comes just hours after his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
Kishida will “show respect to the courage and patience of the Ukrainian people who are standing up to defend their homeland under President Zelenskyy's leadership, and show solidarity and unwavering support for Ukraine as head of Japan and chairman of G-7,” during his visit to Ukraine, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said in announcing his trip to Kyiv.
At the talks, Kishida will show his “absolute rejection to Russia's one-sided change to the status quo by invasion and force, and to affirm his commitment to defend the rules-based international order,” the ministry's statement said.
Kishida was under pressure
Japan's public television NHK showed Kishida riding a train from Poland heading to Kyiv. Kishida, who is to chair the Group of Seven summit in May, is the only G-7 leader who hasn't visited Ukraine and was under pressure to do so at home.
Japan has been in step with other G-7 nations in sanctioning Russia and supporting Ukraine over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. Kishida is expected to offer continuing support for Ukraine when he meets with Zelenskyy.
Kishida's trip was arranged secretly
Due to limitations of Japan's pacifist constitution, his trip was arranged secretly. Kishida is Japan's first postwar leader to enter a war zone. Kishida, invited by Zelenskyy in January to visit Kyiv, was also asked before his trip to India about a rumor of his possible trip at the end of March, denied it and said nothing concrete has been decided.
Japan has joined the United States and European nations in sanctioning Russia over its invasion and providing humanitarian and economic support for Ukraine. Kishida is expected to offer continuing support for Ukraine when he meets with Zelenskyy.
(with inputs from AP)
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