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Kishida vows continued support for Ukraine, is outraged by Russian cruelty

#StandWithUkraine
March 22,2023 1068
Kishida vows continued support for Ukraine, is outraged by Russian cruelty

Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made an unannounced visit to Kyiv on Tuesday, promising to keep supporting the country in its struggle against Russia’s invasion.

Noteworthy, the visit took place ahead of a Group of Seven summit Japan will host in May and mere hours after Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Russia.

Kishida met with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The two leaders discussed Russia’s attempts to enhance its aggressive activities, Ukraine’s urgent security needs, further sanction pressure on Russia and Japan’s involvement in Ukraine’s restoration.

The meeting wound up in the signing of a Joint Statement on Special Global Partnership between Ukraine and Japan, in which the leaders, among other things, “condemned in the strongest possible terms the illegal, unjustifiable and unprovoked aggression by Russia against Ukraine” and “underscored that there must be no impunity for war crimes and other atrocities.”

At a joint news conference after the meeting, Kishida announced that he invited Zelenskyy to participate online in the G7 summit in Hiroshima, and the Ukrainian president said he accepted the invitation.

Kishida promised to supply $30 million worth of nonlethal equipment to Ukraine through a NATO fund. (Japan’s Constitution effectively bars the country’s Self-Defense Forces from providing military arms to foreign forces.) He also announced that Japan decided to give a $470 million unilateral aid in grants for Ukraine’s energy and other sectors.

He also emphasized that Japan provides a wide range of other assistance to cover Ukraine’s needs in demining, television and radio broadcasting, education, public administration and cultural heritage protection.

Zelenskyy thanked Kishida for Japan’s substantial security, economic, political and humanitarian support for Ukraine as well as for implementing sanctions on Russia. He also thanked Japan for its willingness to cooperate in the Ukrainian Peace Formula Implementation.

Before the meeting, Kishida visited Bucha, a Kyiv suburb that became a symbol of Russian atrocities against civilians, laid flowers at a local church and paid his respects to the victims.

“I’m outraged by the cruelty. I represent the Japanese citizens to express my condolences to those who lost their lives,” he said.

Kishida also told reporters that Japan “will continue to make utmost efforts to support Ukraine to restore peace.”

“It is symbolic that the Prime Minister is visiting Ukraine today – on the anniversary of the beginning of the liberation of Ukrainian territories. And he started it with Bucha. We appreciate it very much,” Zelenskyy said at the news conference.

The same day, Ambassador of Ukraine To Japan Serhiy Korsunsky reported that a group of Japanese MPs from the opposition Renaissance party used deductions from their salaries to set up a $1.2 million fund, which they used to buy 20 Toyota Hilux pickup trucks and two containers of other useful items for the Ukrainian armed forces.

“It is important that we have the support of both pro-government and opposition parties in the Japanese parliament,” the ambassador stressed.

(Based on the stories in Kyodo News, Euronews and Suspilne and on the President of Ukraine’s official website)

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