Japan, U.S., Ukraine pledge swift support for Ukraine

Japan, U.S., Ukraine pledge swift support for Ukraine

The Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that the United States, Japan and the European Union agreed to continue to provide swift support to Ukraine as Russia begins a renewed military offensive in the eastern part of its neighboring country.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said during a video call that the Japanese government will increase the amount of loans to Kyiv to $300 million from $100 million, saying that propping up Ukraine's economy is an urgent task. The hourlong call, proposed by U.S. President Joe Biden, took place after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he believes Russian troops have begun the battle to take control of the eastern region of Ukraine after retreating from around the capital city, which they failed to seize.

The leaders expressed deep concern that civilian casualties could be increased as Russia continues to attack the southeast port city of Mariupol, a key area that links the eastern Donbas region containing pro-Russian separatists with Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

The White House said the discussion was on a coordinated effort to impose severe economic costs to hold Russia accountable. The White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the United States is considering additional sanctions.

Biden said that if the US will send more artillery to Ukraine, Biden said. The State Department said last week that the Biden administration has increased the total U.S. security assistance commitment to Ukraine to more than 2.5 billion since the assault began in late February.

Kishida told his counterparts that Japan will provide Ukraine with additional defense equipment - protective masks and clothing against chemical weapons - as well as commercial drones for surveillance purposes, based on requests from Kyiv.

In March, Japan decided to offer bulletproof vests to Ukraine, a rare delivery of defense equipment to a warring party. As a result of restrictions under Japan's pacifist constitution, the government had to revise its guidelines on the transfer of defense equipment to make the shipment possible.

The White House said the leaders committed to continuing close consultation, including working with and through the Group of Seven Industrialized nations, the EU and NATO.

The participants of the video call were the leaders of the G 7 -- Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan and the United States, plus the EU, as well as Poland and Romania and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.