The G7 Summit culminated in talks between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and US President Joe Biden in Hiroshima, Japan, on Sunday, May 21.
Footage released by Zelensky shows the meeting of the two presidents, which was underscored by claims that Russia’s Wagner group had seized control of Bakhmut.
When asked by a reporter, “Is Bakhmut still in Ukraine’s hands? The Russians say they’ve taken Bakhmut”, Zelensky replies, “I think no.”
“You have to understand that there is nothing, they destroyed everything,” Zelensky responds. “There are no buildings. It’s a pity, it’s a tragedy, but for today Bakhmut is only in our hearts.”
Zelensky says Ukraine’s defense in Bakhmut did “strong work”, and outlines his appreciation for their effort.
“The United States continues to do all we can to strengthen Ukraine’s ability to defend itself,” Biden says in the footage, promising support for training Ukrainian pilots.
“Together with the entire G7, we have Ukraine’s back and I promise we’re not going anywhere,” Biden said. Credit: Volodymyr Zelensky via Storyful
JOE BIDEN: Well, Mr. President, It's good to be here with you and your colleagues. Thanks for making the trip to Japan. And the brave people of Ukraine, led by you and your colleagues, are just a marvel to the rest of the world. I'm sure every place you go, you've gotten that response. It's absolutely astounding. And the brutality with which Putin is conducting this full-blown assault is just-- I don't think even three years ago anybody would have thought there could be anything like this.
That's why the United States continues to do all we can to strengthen Ukraine's ability to defend itself, including launching some new joint efforts with our partners to train Ukrainian pilots on fourth generation fighter aircraft, like the F-16. And this week, the G7 also proposed hundreds of new sanctions and export controls against Russia's assets to ensure that we keep pressure on Putin to hold his backers accountable for this war, sanctioning them as well.
And today, I'm announcing the next tranche of US security assistance to Ukraine, a package that includes more ammunition, artillery, armored vehicles to bolster Ukraine's battlefield abilities. And the United States continues to help Ukraine respond, recover, and rebuild. And we're also supporting your pursuit of just peace, just one aspect of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. And it has to be non-negotiable. It just-- it has to happen.
So Mr. President, what the people of Ukraine are defending, what you've achieved, is a matter for the entire world observe. And they're in awe of what you've done so far, really and truly. It's incredible. Together, with the entire G7, we have Ukraine's back. And I promise we're not going anywhere. So thank you for being here.
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY: Thank you very much, Mr. President. First of all, thank you for your help, leadership, for your support. And really, for this new package. That's great Thank you very much from our people. And I'm so happy that we have so strong relations with our people. And our people during this, all these challenges, they go shoulder to shoulder.
I'm very thankful to American people, to you, your team, Congress bipartisan support. And I'm happy that between our teams there are strong relations, with Jake and Andrew, and Mr. Blinken and our foreign minister, all of you, a big team. And that really helps us. Thank you. I remember your last brave historical visit to Kyiv. And really, our society highly appreciate for this. And we spoke about very difficult decisions.
And you did it with the training mission. We are very thankful. I think it will give us more strong positions on the battlefield. So we're very thankful that-- that is a new package. I really didn't know the details, but I know that you gave us a very big package during this year, more than $37 billion, my appreciations. We never forget. Thank you.
JOE BIDEN: Well, you know, my-- some of my staff were saying that we were supposed to be leading, but I seemed to be following you. When I was in Kyiv and those sirens went off, there was an air raid as we were walking through, we just kept walking. And I thought, well, if he doesn't care about the sirens, I don't care about the sirens. Well, I don't know, I've never [INAUDIBLE] Anyway, thank you.
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY: Thank you.
JOE BIDEN: Thank you, everybody, appreciate it.
- Mr. President, it's Bakhmut still in Ukraine's hands? The Russians say they've taken Bakhmut.
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY: I think no. But you have to understand that there is nothing. They've destroyed everything. There are no buildings. It's a pity. It's a tragedy. But for today, Bakhmut is only in our hearts. There is nothing on this place. So just ground and-- and a lot of dead Russians. But they came to us. So that our defenders in Bakhmut, they did strong work. They-- and-- and, of course, we appreciate them for their great job.