Japan PM Kishida pledges $7.3b in additional Ukraine aid

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TOKYO – Japan will offer Ukraine fresh financial support worth US$5.5 billion (S$7.3 billion), Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday, days before the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion.

Japan, this year’s Group of Seven (G-7) president, has joined Western powers in imposing sanctions against Moscow since the war began on Feb 24, 2022.

It has already provided Ukraine with financial support worth US$600 million, along with hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of emergency humanitarian assistance, according to the prime minister’s office.

But “there is still a need to assist people whose livelihoods have been destroyed by the war, and to restore destroyed infrastructure”, Mr Kishida said in a speech at a think tank symposium in Tokyo.

“We have decided to provide additional financial support of US$5.5 billion.”

The Japanese premier also announced he will host a video conference of the G-7 leaders with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday, the invasion’s one-year anniversary.

“This year, Japan, as G-7 president and a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, will support Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression and lead the world’s efforts to uphold a free and open international order based on the rule of law,” Mr Kishida said.

The G-7 leaders will meet in person in Hiroshima in May.

Since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion was launched, Japan has also taken the rare steps of sending defensive equipment and offering refuge to those fleeing the conflict.

The country has a pacifist post-war constitution, which limits its military capacity to ostensibly defensive measures.

Mr Kishida’s announcements came as US President Joe Biden, on an unannounced visit to Kyiv, promised increased arms deliveries for Ukraine.

It is Mr Biden’s first visit to Ukraine since the war began, and the trip was hailed by Mr Zelensky as “an extremely important sign of support for all Ukrainians”. AFP

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