HIROSHIMA, (Japan): President Volodymyr Zelensky secured more arms, munitions and “unwavering” diplomatic support from allies at a G7 summit in Japan Sunday, as Ukrainian forces suffered a significant battlefield setback.
After two days of talks in Hiroshima — a city synonymous with the horrors of nuclear war — Zelensky won a commitment from the United States for yet more “ammunition, artillery, armoured vehicles” on top of long-sought access to F-16 jets.
But the military boost came as Russia claimed to have taken control of Bakhmut, the scene of months of fierce fighting that has all but razed the city.
Zelensky acknowledged Moscow’s troops were inside the city but insisted it was “not occupied”.
After laying flowers at a memorial to victims of the 1945 atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima, Zelensky tearfully compared the carnage of 78 years ago to the carnage of Ukraine today.
“The photos of Hiroshima remind me of Bakhmut. There is absolutely nothing alive, all the buildings are destroyed,” Zelensky said.
“Absolute total destruction. There is nothing, there are no people.”
But he vowed that, like Hiroshima, Ukraine would recover.
For their part, US President Joe Biden and other G7 leaders signalled they were under no illusions that Russia’s 15-month-old invasion would end quickly, vowing to support Ukraine as long as it takes.
“Will not waver, Putin will not break our resolve as he thought he could,” Biden said.
The White House earlier unveiled a $375 million package of US aid that includes ammunition for HIMAR rocket launchers, artillery shells, anti-tank guided missiles and thermal imaging systems.
This, just days after the United States lifted a veto on Ukrainian access to advanced US-made F-16 fighter jets, was a significant upgrade from Kyiv’s Cold War-era fleet for MiGs and Sukhois.