KIEV - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on Ukraine’s leader Saturday to sincerely implement a cease-fire after fighting broke out between government forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine earlier in the week.
Abe issued the call during his meeting in Kiev with President Petro Poroshenko on the way to the two-day Group of Seven summit in Germany starting Sunday. The Ukraine crisis is expected to top the agenda at the G-7 summit amid persistent fighting that continues even after the cease-fire deal struck in February between Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France.
At a joint news conference after the meeting, Abe said Tokyo will offer support to Ukraine to stabilize the situation, such as by sending experts. Japan will also help develop human resources in Ukraine to fight corruption and promote administrative reform, he said.
Japan has already pledged a $1.84 billion aid package to the crisis-hit country.
Abe told Poroshenko that Japan, which condemned Russia’s annexation of Crimea in southern Ukraine in March last year, “will not tolerate any attempt to alter the status quo by force.” He added that Japan attaches importance to the rule of law, sovereignty and territorial integrity in the Ukrainian crisis.
Poroshenko, for his part, said Ukraine will promote cooperation with Japan in dealing with the 2011 nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, drawing on its experience dealing with the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
While Abe signalled Japan’s readiness to get actively involved in resolving the Ukrainian crisis as a G-7 member, he is also believed to have stressed in Saturday’s meeting the importance of dialogue with Russia, given that Tokyo wants to make progress on its long-running territorial dispute with Moscow over four Russian-held islets off Hokkaido.
Abe, who arrived in Ukraine late Friday, became the first Japanese prime minister to visit the country. The two leaders last met in Milan, Italy, in October.