GP Short Notes # 682, 25 May 2023
In the news
On 20 May, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky took part in the G7 summit. He held bilateral talks with the G7 leaders on improving air defence capabilities, training Ukrainian pilots and enhancing cooperation against Russia on international platforms. In his address, he underlined Ukraine's peace formula and highlighted the need for air defence systems. He stated: "When our pilots know the F16 and when these aircraft appear in our skies, it will matter not only for Ukraine. This will be a historic moment for the entire security architecture in Europe and the world."
On 21 May, in his closing address, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned Russia and pledged an "unwavering solidarity" with Ukraine. He added: "Wherever in the world, attempting to unilaterally change the status quo by force can never be accepted."
On 21 May, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation slammed the G7 summit by calling it a "politicized" event and being anti-Russia and anti-China.
On 20 May, European Council President Charles Michel promised Zelensky further support in its war against Russia. A European Council spokesperson said: "The EU will work with G7 partners to target every pillar of the Russian economy to ensure Putin's war machine fails."
On 19 May, Zelenskyy attended the Arab League summit in Jeddah to seek support as the Saudi Crown Prince expressed his willingness to mediate peace between Moscow and Kyiv following a successful prisoner exchange deal brokered by Riyadh last year. In his opening speech, he stated: "We reaffirm the kingdom's readiness to continue mediating efforts between Russia and Ukraine, and to support all international efforts aimed at resolving the crisis politically in a way that contributes to achieving security."
Issues at large
First, Zelenskyy's diplomatic offensive outside to balance Ukraine's military offensive within. Russia's success in Soledar and its upper hand in the Bakhmut battle have prompted Ukraine to demand more weapons. Besides, Ukraine has not staged a successful counter-offensive since Russia's Kherson withdrawal. For Zelensky, the recent visits (G7 and Arab League summits) aim to procure military support for Ukraine's counter-offensive. He seems to have succeeded; there have been promises of F-16 jets and training of its pilots.
Second, the responses. G7 leaders, in their statement, strongly condemned Russian aggression and renewed their commitment to providing further financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support to Ukraine as long as it takes. Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia pledged USD 400 million and voted in favour of UN resolutions calling on Russia to end its invasion of Ukraine. In the G7 meeting, he met leaders of India, Indonesia and South Korea and persuaded them to support Ukraine.
Third, Ukraine's need to accelerate the West's promised aid. The West has pledged military support, but there has been a delay in delivering the weapons to Ukraine. In May 2023, Zelenskyy said that Kyiv has been delaying its counter-offensive due to a lack of ammunition.
First, Zelenskyy's visit to Arab League and G7 to garner support is partially successful. His meeting with President Biden resulted in the US pledging around USD 375 million to meet critical defence needs. The US, UK, and Germany announced military aid for Ukraine and widened the sanctions to isolate Russia. Further, the US extended its permission for the Western allies to supply F16 Jets to Ukraine.
Second, converting the promises into action. This has been an issue for Zelenskyy; Ukraine cannot fight against Russia and win the war with promises alone.