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EDITORIAL | G7 Speech Shows Zelenskyy is Determined to Triumph Over Putin

As Russia’s aggression persists in Ukraine, the world must consider with all seriousness the call by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for strong solidarity.



Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks in Hiroshima on May 21. (© Sankei)

"Russia must be the last aggressor. After the defeat of Russia, may only peace flourish." That was the heartbreaking appeal Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered during his in-person speech at the G7 Summit.

First, he toured the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Then in his speech, Zelenskyy compared the destruction of Ukrainian cities with the devastation wrought by the atomic bombing. "The photos of the ruins of Hiroshima I saw in the museum reminded me exactly of Bakhmut," he lamented. He also looked to the future of rebuilding Ukraine, just as Hiroshima had been rebuilt into a modern thriving city. 

In a series of remarks, Zelenskyy has demonstrated his indomitable determination to triumph over Russian President Vladimir Putin. Even now, Putin persists in his aggression. Zelenskyy also has urged strong solidarity in never allowing the status quo to be changed by force. The world must consider his appeals with all seriousness.

Ukrainian President Zelenskiy and Japanese PM Kishida pose for a photo in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The Atomic Bomb Dome is seen in the background on May 21. (©Eugene Hoshiko/Pool via REUTERS)

Zelenskyy's Peace Proposal

In a plenary meeting with the G7 leaders, Zelensky presented his "10-point peace proposal." Notably, "Radiation and Nuclear Safety" were at the top of the list.

Ukraine suffered the worst ever radiological accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986. The Putin regime has repeatedly threatened nuclear strikes and Russian troops are still occupying the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in southern Ukraine. It was therefore highly significant that President Zelenskyy’s strong warning against the use of nuclear weapons was issued directly from Hiroshima.

During his speech, Zelensky also called for the return of occupied territory. He firmly warned against awarding Russia the territory it now occupies. That, he said, would mean that international law is a dead letter. He also demanded that any peace settlement should include the "withdrawal of Russian forces and the cessation of hostilities." 

Taiwan contingency
Image of a simulated attack on Taiwan from mainland China posted by the Chinese military's Eastern Theater Command on its official WeChat account on April 10. (© Kyodo)

A Message to China

Amidst much discussion about a Ukrainian counteroffensive, the Biden administration announced that it had agreed to the proposed transfer of American-made F-16 fighters from NATO members to Ukraine.

The actual transfer of the aircraft is not expected to take place for several months. Before that happens, Ukrainian pilots will be trained on them and other preparations completed. 

Nonetheless, this should be regarded as a sign of the willingness on the part of Washington to continue military assistance to Ukraine over the long term. That is certainly a welcome decision.

Zelenskyy also pleaded that "Russia must be the last aggressor." This can be seen as a veiled reference to a future Taiwan contingency.

He obviously had in mind China's assertion that Taiwan is purely a "domestic issue" and its refusal to renounce the use of force to settle it. The forcible annexation of Taiwan is no less a change of status quo by force than the invasion of Ukraine. 

China should become convinced that the global community would never tolerate such a move.


(Read the editorial in Japanese.)

Author: Editorial Board, The Sankei Shimbun

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