Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrives in Hiroshima on Saturday to join G7 talks, after winning long-sought US support for access to advanced fighter jets and training for Kyiv’s pilots. This comes as Kyiv’s air defences successfully repelled a new Russian drone attack overnight but falling debris caused some damage in the Ukrainian capital, the military said Saturday. Read our live blog for all the latest developments on the war in Ukraine. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).
8:45am: Ukraine’s Zelensky arrives in Japan for G7 Summit
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Hiroshima, Japan, on Saturday, to attend the Group of Seven (G7) leaders’ summit in the city.
Live footage broadcast by multiple media outlets showed Zelensky disembark from a French government aircraft. Japan, this year’s G7 chair, earlier on Saturday announced Zelensky’s in-person attendance at the meeting in the world’s first city attacked by an atomic bomb, as nuclear threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin have unsettled the West.
5:33am: Kyiv says repelled new drone attack on Ukraine capital
Kyiv’s air defences successfully repelled a new Russian drone attack overnight but falling debris caused some damage in the Ukrainian capital, the military said Saturday. “This night, the aggressor again carried out a massive drone attack,” the head of Kyiv‘s civil and military administration, Serhiy Popko, said in an update on Telegram.
“All detected air targets were destroyed by the forces and means of our air defence. No strikes on Kyiv were performed!”
Falling debris caused a fire in a residential building in Darnytskyi district but it was extinguished without casualties, he said. Debris also caused some damage in three other districts, he said, but there was no immediate report of casualties. Popko said it was the 11th air attack on Kyiv since the start of May. At 12:45 am Saturday (2145 GMT Friday), the Ukrainian army said drones were heading towards the Kyiv region. Explosions were reported there by authorities and also in the city of Chernihiv, northeast of Kyiv.
5:29am: Zelensky heads to G7 as Ukraine wins access to F-16s
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrives in Hiroshima on Saturday to join G7 talks, after winning long-sought US support for access to advanced fighter jets and training for Kyiv’s pilots. The rare long-haul trip is a chance to confer with allies like US President Joe Biden, but also to woo key unaligned powers at the summit, including India and Brazil.
Zelensky’s surprise appearance – he had previously been expected to appear by video – comes after a stop in Jeddah to address the Arab League. He will arrive Saturday afternoon on a French plane, a diplomatic source told AFP. He arrives fresh off a breakthrough in his long-running campaign to convince Washington of Ukraine’s need for F-16s.
Momentum had been building for providing the planes, but Washington’s support is key because its approval is legally required for the re-export of US equipment purchased by allies. The United States had previously cited long pilot training times and high costs as a reason not to supply the jets, with officials insisting there were more cost-effective ways to boost Kyiv’s air defences. But F-16s now appear likely to join the list of advanced systems, including Western tanks and long-range weaponry, that Ukraine’s supporters have agreed to provide after initial reluctance.
Key developments from Friday, May 19:
Russia on Friday said it banned entry to 500 Americans, including former ex-Barack Obama, in response to sanctions imposed by Washington.
The US on Friday announced sanctions on more than 300 targets as G7 leaders met in Japan, aiming to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and intensifying one of the harshest sanctions efforts ever implemented.
US President Joe Biden told G7 leaders that Washington will support training Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets that could be supplied to Kyiv.
President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and thanked him for backing Ukraine’s sovereignty, a statement from the presidency said.
Read yesterday’s live blog to see how the day’s events unfolded.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP & Reuters)
This story originally appeared on France24