KYIV — Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made an unannounced visit to Kyiv on March 21 to show support for Ukraine’s struggle against the Russian invasion.
Following talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Monday, Kishida entered Ukraine through Poland. The trip was not previously announced for security reasons.
Kishida laid flowers at a memorial in Bucha, a town where many civilians were found dead after it was occupied by Russian troops, and observed progress in the town’s recovery. He also observed how generators provided by the Japanese government as winterization support are being utilized.
Kishida then held a summit meeting, a joint statement signing ceremony, and a joint press conference with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The leaders confirmed “unwavering solidarity” between Japan and Ukraine and held extensive discussions on a wide range of issues, including bilateral relations. Recognizing the enormous potential of bilateral cooperation, the leaders decided to upgrade the bilateral relationship to a special global partnership.
Kishida and Zelenskyy condemned in the strongest possible terms the “illegal, unjustifiable and unprovoked aggression” by Russia against Ukraine, which they said “undermines the very foundation of the international order based on the rule of law” and “constitutes a grave violation of the basic principles enshrined in the U.N. Charter.”
Among the Group of Seven leaders, Kishida is the last to visit Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February 2022. President Joe Biden went there last month. Kishida invited Zelenskyy to attend the G-7 summit that Japan will host in Hiroshima in May.
Kishida promised to supply Ukraine with $30 million worth of non-lethal equipment through a NATO fund. Japan has provided Ukraine with financial support, humanitarian and medical supplies, and defense equipment such as bulletproof vests and helmets, but is prohibited by its constitution from giving military arms to foreign countries.
Kishida’s visit coincided with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s trip to Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin.