Biden 'eager' to meet Zelensky at G7 in Hiroshima

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Joe Biden is “looking forward” to meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the G7 in Japan this weekend, after paving the way for future deliveries of fighter jets to help Ukraine “ defend themselves” against Russia, the White House said on Saturday. 

The President of the United States “looks forward to the opportunity to meet him face to face” , said his national security adviser Jake Sullivan, confirming a planned meeting between the two heads of state in Hiroshima.

Mr. Zelensky is expected from Saturday in the Japanese city where he must participate on Sunday in the last day of the summit of the seven main industrialized democracies, in the presence of several major emerging powers invited, including India and Brazil. He stopped off in Saudi Arabia on Friday to take part in an Arab League summit.

“It is a very good, important thing that he went to the Arab League to have the opportunity to make its case from a Ukrainian point of view, so that the world supports Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity,” said Jake Sullivan.

Just before the arrival of the Ukrainian president in Japan, Joe Biden overcame his long-standing reluctance by saying he was ready to allow other countries to supply Kyiv with the fighter jets he wants, American-made F-16s. . A “historic” decision, hailed the Ukrainian president.

Jake Sullivan confirmed to the press in Hiroshima that Washington now supports a joint initiative by its allies to train Ukrainian pilots on F-16s. During the duration of this training, which should take months, the West will decide the schedule for the delivery of the planes, their number as well as the countries which will provide them, he reaffirmed.

The adviser diplomatic Joe Biden assured that the American doctrine had “not changed”. “Our approach to delivering weapons, equipment and training to the Ukrainians followed the demands of the conflict,” he explained.

He considered the F-16s to be part of equipment that Kyiv will need “in the future” to “be able to deter and defend itself against any Russian aggression”, beyond the immediate necessities linked to the Ukrainian counter-offensive announced several weeks ago by Ukraine .

The White House reiterated the US position that through its military assistance, including combat aircraft, “the United States does not facilitate or support attacks on Russian soil”. “The Ukrainians have consistently indicated that they are ready to respect this position,” assured Mr. Sullivan.