Zelensky lands in Japan: G7 and Russia-Ukraine war news

KYIV, Ukraine – President Volodymyr Zelensky’s decision to launch a flurry of foreign trips amid final preparations for a Ukrainian counter-offensive was met with support from some residents of the capital Kyiv on Friday, hours after it came under attack for the 10th time. This month.

The president’s recent trip – he visited four European capitals over the weekend and Saudi Arabia on Friday and will attend Japan for 7 meetings this weekend – was in contrast to much of the first year of the war, when Mr Zelensky’s choice to stay in Ukraine became a symbol of defiance and solidarity.

Now, residents interviewed on the streets of Kyiv said they were heartened by the warm reception Mr. Zelensky was receiving abroad at a time when continued support from allies was vital.

“I think it’s wonderful, because it creates a bridge between all countries,” said Nioneila, a 76-year-old retired sanitation worker who asked that several people interviewed for this article use only her first name for fear of reprisals. be done.

At each stop on his diplomatic tour, Mr. Zelensky has worked to bolster support and demand more weapons to fight Russia’s aggression. His whirlwind trip to Germany, France and Britain last weekend netted billions of dollars in new military aid.

“Each of their visits is ending positively,” said Neonila while buying vegetables at a stall in the city center. “We are given something.”

While few interviewed in Kiev opposed the trip, some questioned Mr. Zelensky’s motives.

The trip is good for the president’s “ratings,” Lyudmila, 75, said as she sat on a sunny Kiev park bench with a friend.

“They are creating an image for themselves, for future elections,” she said.

Kateryna Papusha, who sat next to her daughter’s stroller in the park, said she supported the trip because some foreign leaders were unable or afraid to visit Ukraine.

“I support his visits abroad, because every visit is quite fruitful,” she said. “There are some agreements, some support, some help for Ukraine.”

Being close to someone involved in the fighting, she paid particular attention to the announcements of new weapons pledges, Ms. Papusha added.

Most Ukrainian men have been banned from leaving the country since the war began, and the effects of nearly 15 months of fighting are being felt across the country. Volodymyr Pylypenko, 45, who was wounded in fighting in eastern Ukraine, said on Friday that he did not know Mr. Zelensky’s movements closely.

“I’m more concerned about the situation on our front,” he said, smoking a cigarette as he stood outside the hospital.

But that doesn’t mean he thinks the wartime president should stay, he said. As a general commanding the armed forces, he said, Mr. Zelensky could handle foreign politics.

“If it does something good for Ukraine, that’s just a plus,” Mr Pylypenko said.

Valentina Horbachiova, 65, expressed a sense of urgency, saying foreign travel was “very necessary right now” – especially given the recent attacks on Kiev.

“If he travels more and talks to higher ups, maybe there will be peace here, maybe we will get support,” she said as she waited to pick up her grandchildren from school.

Staying in the capital would do nothing for Mr. Zelensky outside of solidarity, said Ms. Horbachiova, who described the “terrible” attacks she witnessed from her 18th-floor apartment.

“What will change if he sits here? Will we not be shelled? she asked. “We’ll be fired on just as much – maybe even more if they know he’s here.”

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