With his charismatic presence in his signature green work suit, Zelenskyy is likely to demonstrate that his nation’s survival depends on a continued flow of cash and sophisticated weaponry from the US and its allies.
He will attend a summit where new steps have already been agreed to make the war even more costly for Russia.
Biden attended a working lunch on Friday that focused on the conflict — papers spread out on a round table, with each country’s flags in the background. The heads of state and government of Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Commission and the European Council were present.
A subsequent joint statement by the G-7 leaders set out a range of new sanctions. To undermine the Kremlin’s war capability, the nations agreed to restrict exports of industrial machinery, tools, and technology to Russia.
“We will starve Russia of G-7 technology, industrial equipment and services that support its war machine,” the statement said.
“Our determination to continue tightening the screws on Russia remains as strong as it was last year,” a Biden administration official said ahead of the summit, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak publicly.
But recent polls shows that Americans are fed up with the war and waiting for an end date.
Russia failed to quickly conquer its smaller neighbor, but showed no sign of being ready to withdraw troops. Kyiv will not give up either. Ukraine is We are preparing a counter-offensive to retake occupied lands and show what a difference supporting the West can make on the battlefield.
Biden, who last saw Zelenskyy in person on a surprise trip to Kiev three months ago, promised at the time that the US would continue to support Ukraine “as long as it takes.”
This unlimited commitment will test Americans’ resolve and patience in an election season as the Biden administration spends billions to keep Ukraine fighting.
The war is likely to be an issue in the 2024 presidential campaign. Republican lead candidate Donald Trump did not say he wanted Ukraine to win and told a recent CNN City Hall meeting that if elected he would end the conflict in 24 hours by meeting Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin .
An unexpected domestic issue has emerged on Biden’s journey: the fight against the debt ceiling in Washington.
Biden originally planned to visit Papua New Guinea and Australia to mobilize US allies and curb China’s growing influence in the Pacific. He canceled those legs of the trip so he could return to the White House on Sunday and resume talks on raising the debt ceiling and averting an unprecedented default with global repercussions.
“It’s a small miracle that Biden made the trip to Hiroshima,” said Daniel Russel, former director of Asian affairs at the Obama White House. “I’m glad he did and we should all pray for it [debt ceiling fight] is wrapped up, because the consequences would be devastating – and not only for the USA. Everyone is concerned.”
Beyond the sanctions, Zelenskyy called for advanced F-16 fighter jets to repel Russian forces. So far, the Biden administration has declined to provide the planes, fearing that weapons reaching Russian soil could risk escalating the war. But the US has invited Ukrainian pilots to train on simulators to estimate how long it would take to learn to fly the plane.
At the summit, Zelenskyy will have another opportunity to push the Jets.
“It’s very helpful,” Russel said of Zelenskyj’s visit. “If developed countries get Ukraine-weary before Russia gets war and fight-weary, then there will be a big problem.” Zelenskyy has brilliantly made sure that the world sees the situation as it is and that it doesn’t burns out and gets tired.”
The site of the summit is symbolic of the deadly threat that is a common concern for both Ukraine and Asian countries living in the shadow of China’s and North Korea’s nuclear weapons.
During World War II, the US destroyed Hiroshima with a single atomic bomb. On Friday morning, Biden and his counterparts toured the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum and met a woman who survived the attack.
In the park outside, leaders laid wreaths and planted a tree overlooking the skeletal remains of a once-domed building given to Japan as a memorial to the victims of the bomb.
Darina Mayer contributed.