Zelensky asks Japan to increase sanctions on Russia
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday urged Japan to increase pressure on Russia and implement a trade embargo with the country as tensions between Japanese and Russian officials escalate.
Zelensky told the Japanese parliament in a video call that a trade embargo was “necessary to remove companies from the Russian market so that money does not go to the Russian army,” according to Reuters.
“You were the first in Asia who really began to put pressure on Russia to restore peace, who supported sanctions against Russia, and I urge you to keep doing this,” the Ukrainian president told Japanese lawmakers, per Reuters.
After Russia invaded Ukraine last month, Japan joined the West in punishing the nation with sanctions on 76 individuals in Russia, seven banks and 12 other bodies. Japan was also one of the countries to revoke Russia’s “most favored” trading status.
The Russian foreign ministry responded on Monday by breaking off a post-World War II treaty with Japan that concerned a dispute over islands in the Pacific once seized by the Soviet Union and still held by Russia.
In attendance during the address was Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who later said he plans to strengthen sanctions against Russia and further support Ukraine.
In his address to parliament, Zelensky compared Ukraine and Japan’s experience with nuclear disasters — the 1986 Chernobyl explosion in Ukraine and the 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima plant in Japan, Reuters reported. The Ukrainian president reportedly raised concerns with future attacks from the Chernobyl plant with Russians occupying it.
Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters he was moved by Zelensky’s concerns with Chernobyl, according to the wire service.
“I have always said that any kind of attack against a nuclear power plant is absolutely unacceptable,” said Hayashi.