Zelensky makes his pitch
President Volodymyr Zelensky is on a mission ahead of the much-touted Ukrainian counteroffensive that could launch any day now. That explains why he was in Saudi Arabia today to lobby dozens of countries meeting in Jeddah for the Arab League summit.
While the Gulf states in particular have doled out aid to Ukraine – the Saudis, for example, pledged $400 million earlier this year, while UAE promised $100 million – the oil-rich countries have maintained close relations with Russia, a fellow petrostate. Zelensky was likely also trying to ensure that Egypt doesn’t arm the Kremlin, after recent reports that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was toying with the idea, angering Washington.
The Ukrainian president is also going to attend the G-7 meeting currently taking place in Hiroshima, Japan, though it’s unclear if his presence will be in person or virtual. The G-7 – which includes the US, UK, Italy, Germany, France, Canada and Japan – announced Friday that it will lob new sanctions on Russia, signifying that the group of powerful states has no intention of easing pressure on Vladimir Putin even as some non-aligned states have called for more emphasis on negotiating a peace treaty. Still, as the G-7 mulls over whether to provide Kyiv with F-16 fighter jets, Zelensky will want to plead his case.Ahead of the counteroffensive, at least some of these leaders might have an important – and perhaps awkward – question for Zelensky: What's the endgame here? GZERO writers discussed this exact topic at a Twitter Space this week. Tune in to the recording here for insights on what the West’s threshold might be for Ukraine’s success.