Photo/Illutration Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks at a news conference on Feb. 24, the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Koichi Ueda)

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida plans to make a surprise visit to Kyiv for a face-to-face meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry announced that Kishida would meet with Zelenskyy on March 21 in the Ukrainian capital and then visit neighboring Poland the following day for talks with President Andrej Duda.

Kishida is scheduled to return to Japan on March 23.

Although Japan is hosting this year’s Group of Seven summit, Kishida is the only one of the seven leaders who has not met Zelenskyy in person.

Kishida flew to Poland after a visit to India and is expected to use a land route to reach Kyiv. The Diet was not notified beforehand that Kishida would visit Ukraine, as is the normal convention.

The main theme of the G-7 summit in May in Hiroshima will be the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and Kishida likely decided a visit to Kyiv would be indispensable in leading G-7 discussions about further support for Ukraine.

Zelenskyy had invited Kishida to visit Kyiv when the two talked by phone on Jan. 6. But Kishida had hesitated to make a clear commitment for various reasons, such as security and the need to notify the Diet beforehand.

However, lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and main opposition Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan had said in February that exceptions could be made for a visit to Ukraine as long as a report was made to the Diet after Kishida returned to Japan.