Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy will attend the G7 summit this weekend in person, four people briefed on the preparations told the Financial Times.
Zelenskyy is expected to participate in meetings in Hiroshima on Sunday, they said.
His unexpected attendance is aimed at bolstering western support of Ukraine as the war with Russia heads towards its 16th month. He will also seek to secure backing from non-G7 attendees such as India and Brazil, which have not joined western moves to punish Moscow.
Officials cautioned his visit could still be cancelled for security reasons. His attendance could complicate Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida’s efforts to ensure that the summit, which is being held in Asia for the first time in seven years, would not focus solely on the war in Ukraine.
Kishida wants the gathering to focus on security issues in the Indo-Pacific region and outreach to developing countries as well as the war in Ukraine. The US also wants to have a strong focus on the Indo-Pacific and ensure that the countries can demonstrate as much unity as possible on their approach to China.
In March, Kishida made his first visit to Kyiv to formally invite Zelenskyy to attend the Hiroshima summit, marking a rare visit by a Japanese leader to a war zone. Kishida has repeatedly warned that “today’s Ukraine may be tomorrow’s east Asia”.
Zelenskyy is expected to redouble efforts to secure increased military support from western allies, including supplies of US-made F-16 fighter jets, which require the blessing of Washington.
He is also expected to discuss efforts to promote his 10-point peace plan for ending the war, which calls for a full Russian withdrawal and the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. A rival Chinese proposal does not refer to these as pre-requisites for peace talks.
A Japanese government spokesperson reiterated previous statements that Zelenskyy was expected to participate in the event via video conference.
Zelenskyy’s international travel plans during the war have been kept secret until the final moment for security concerns.
Zelenskyy has not visited Asia since the conflict began. The Ukrainian president made previously unannounced visits to the UK, France, Italy and Germany this week.
A spokesperson for Zelenskyy could not be reached for comment and has previously declined to comment on the president’s travel plans.
Additional reporting by Christopher Miller in Kyiv