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Japan, Ukraine leaders urge Russia to withdraw immediately

Kishida and Zelensky condemned
Kishida and Zelensky condemned "in the strongest possible terms the illegal, unjustifiable and unprovoked aggression by Russia against Ukraine." (AFP)
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23 Mar 2023 12:03:12 GMT9
23 Mar 2023 12:03:12 GMT9

WARSAW: Japanese Prime Minister KISHIDA Fumio and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Russia to withdraw from Ukraine immediately, in a joint statement released after their meeting in Kyiv on Tuesday.

Kishida and Zelensky condemned “in the strongest possible terms the illegal, unjustifiable and unprovoked aggression by Russia against Ukraine.”

“Russia must immediately cease hostilities and withdraw all forces and equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine immediately and unconditionally,” including from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, they said in the statement.

The statement also said the two leaders “confirmed the unwavering solidarity between Japan and Ukraine.”

“Recognizing the inseparability of Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific security, the leaders reaffirmed their intention to work together to maintain and strengthen the free and open international order based on the rule of law,” the statement noted.

The two criticized Russia for threatening to use nuclear weapons, and affirmed cooperation to hold Russia accountable for war crimes.

Kishida and Zelensky agreed to upgrade their countries’ relationship to a special global partnership.

The Japanese leader visited Ukraine for the first time since Russia’s invasion of the European country began in February last year.

During their meeting, including a dinner session, held for roughly two hours and 40 minutes at the Ukrainian president’s office, Kishida told Zelensky that Japan will additionally provide Ukraine with 470 million dollars, including in grant aid for the country’s energy sector.

According to the Japanese government, Kishida also announced that his country will newly provide Ukraine with 30 million dollars in non-lethal equipment assistance. He expressed his respect for the courage and perseverance of the Ukrainian people.

Praising the Japanese leader as a guardian of international order, Zelensky thanked Kishida for Japan’s assistance so far.

Kishida invited Zelensky to a summit of the Group of Seven major democracies that he will chair in Hiroshima, western Japan, in May. Zelensky is set to attend the summit online.

Kishida’s visit to Ukraine came just two months before the G-7 summit. He was the only G-7 leader who had not visited there since the start of Russia’s aggression. In January, he was asked by Zelensky to visit Ukraine in a telephone conversation.

On Monday night, Kishida secretly left New Delhi by plane for Poland after meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He then entered Kyiv from Poland by train.

After his meeting with Zelensky on Tuesday, Kishida left Ukraine on a train for Poland. On Wednesday, he met with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw.

Kishida told the Polish side that Japan will add Poland to its list of official development assistance recipients as Poland is facing an increased burden as the main base for operations related to aid for Ukraine. He noted that it is important for like-minded countries to work together to continue providing aid to Ukraine.

Later on Wednesday, Kishida departed for home on a chartered plane. He is scheduled to arrive in Tokyo on Thursday morning.

JIJI Press

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