Japan changes plans on sending aid to Ukraine

Japan changes plans on sending aid to Ukraine

TOKYO Kyodo announced on Thursday it had changed its plans regarding the dispatch of Air Self-Defense Force aircraft to Ukraine's neighboring nations, after India, which has close ties with Russia, refused to allow the entry of such planes to pick up supplies.

The ASDF aircraft will only pick up relief items such as blankets stockpiled by a UN agency in the United Arab Emirates and transport them to Poland and Romania, both of which have welcomed refugees from Ukraine.

The plan approved by the Prime Minister Fumio Kishida's cabinet will last from May to June, according to the plan approved by the Office of the U.N. High CommissionerU.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

In collaboration with the international community, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a press conference that they will continue to provide support for and stand by the people of Ukraine and its neighboring nations.

India's decision to not allow the planes to land forced the Japanese government to revise its original plan and delay Cabinet approval.

India has refrained from condemning Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24 because of its close military ties with Russia and highly dependent on energy supplies from the country.

New Delhi has since March provided aid, including medicine and medical equipment, for Ukraine through Poland and Romania, after a request from the Ukrainian government, according to media reports.

India had agreed to a working level to allow the transport of aircraft to land, but it withdrew consent at the last minute, a lawmaker of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party said earlier.

A spokesman for the Indian External Affairs Ministry told a press conference that India had not been given permission for the ASDF aircraft to land in Mumbai, but had agreed with Japan's use of commercial aircraft to collect humanitarian supplies.

Japan's ASDF planes have already delivered bulletproof vests and helmets to Ukraine via Poland.