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How Japanese PM’s secret trip to Ukraine from India was kept under wraps till last minute

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arriving in Kyiv late Tuesday afternoon (Video grab courtesy: Twitter/NHK)

In a hush-hush trip, the plan of which was kept completely under wraps, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida travelled to Ukraine from India in the early hours of Tuesday, his first visit to the war-torn region.

Just a little more than 24 hours after holding a summit meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, Kishida will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv later today to “directly convey” Japan’s solidarity and “unwavering support” for Ukraine.

Japan, the current G7 chair, is hosting the Hiroshima Summit in May this year and Kishida was under pressure at home for being the only leader in the group to have not made the trip to Ukraine so far.

Interestingly, Kishida’s arrival in Kyiv takes place just as Chinese President Xi Jinping pitched to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin a 12-point plan to settle the ongoing crisis in Ukraine during his ongoing visit to Moscow.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry said that Kishida will express his respect for the courage and perseverance of the Ukrainian people standing up to defend their homeland under Zelenskyy’s leadership.

“At a summit meeting with President Zelenskyy, Prime Minister Kishida will resolutely reject Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and unilateral changing of the status quo by force, and reconfirm his determination to uphold the international order based on the rule of law,” it said in a statement.

Kishida will then visit Poland, which is the frontline of military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, before heading home.

The Japanese media reported Tuesday how Kishida and his staff gave the travelling press a slip in New Delhi and sneaked out late at night to the airport en route to Ukraine.

“At 10:16 p.m. Japan time, Prime Minister Abe arrived at a hotel in New Delhi after having a dinner party with Japanese business people. He appeared in the workroom of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials who accompanied him, took a commemorative photo with the local embassy staff, and then took the elevator to the upper floors of the hotel. A Ministry of Foreign Affairs official told reporters, “There are no more schedules (for the Prime Minister) today,” reported Asahi Shimbun.

Earlier today, a video of Kishida boarding a train, considered the safest mode of transport to visit Kyiv, also appeared on social media.

Kishida has also extended an invitation to PM Modi for the G7 Leaders’ Summit in Hiroshima, his hometown, where he will bat for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

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