Japan to extend long-term support for Ukraine; Russia could leverage on delay in military aid to Ukraine_ ISW

Japan’s Foreign Minister Kamikawa Yoko has said Tokyo will enlist help from the private sector and extend long-term support for Ukraine, nearly two years after Russia’s invasion began.

Kamikawa made this disclosure ahead of the Japan-Ukraine Conference for Promotion of Economic Growth and Reconstruction, which will be held in Tokyo on Monday.

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal will join representatives of around 130 companies from both countries. They will discuss plans for bilateral cooperation covering seven areas, including agriculture and infrastructure.

Kamikawa said the private sector’s involvement is essential to help restore and reconstruct Ukraine.

She said achieving these goals will be a long-running endeavor toward rebuilding the country as well as the livelihoods of its people. She vowed that Japan will make sustained efforts encompassing various sectors.

Kamikawa also emphasized incorporating “Women, Peace and Security,” WPS, in reconstruction plans. The concept highlights women’s active involvement in conflict prevention and peacebuilding efforts. She said Japan will stand by all Ukrainians, including women and children.

Regarding Japan’s travel restrictions which now cover Ukraine’s entire territory, Kamikawa said she has heard some companies complain they cannot make a decision to start business without actually visiting the country. She said protection of Japanese citizens remains a top priority, but Tokyo is also working to facilitate corporate activities and considering how to handle the restrictions.

The government is expected to announce a plan at the conference to ease some of the restrictions for parties including corporate personnel.

Meanwhile, US think tank group has said that Russian forces could make further advances if the United States and European countries delay their military assistance to Ukraine.

The Institute for the Study of War provided its analysis on the situation in the key eastern city of Avdiivka.

It said, “Russian forces appear to have temporarily established limited and localized air superiority” and used a large amount of glide bombs “to provide close air support to advancing infantry troops.”

The institute also said this is “likely the first time that Russian forces have done so in Ukraine.”

It added that delays in Western security assistance “could allow Russian forces to replicate the close air support that facilitated Russian advances in Avdiivka at scale.”

Russia’s defense ministry announced on Saturday that its minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin that Avdiivka is under full Russian control.

Also on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave a speech at an international conference in the German city of Munich.

He warned that keeping Ukraine in “an artificial shortage of weapons” allows Russia to adapt to the current intensity of the war.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said in a social media post that one of the lessons learned from the defense of Avdiivka is that Ukrainian forces need modern air defense systems.