The Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday he traveled to Buka, the martyred town near Kiev that has become a symbol of the atrocities of the Russian occupation, as part of his first “historic” visit to Ukraine.

Kishida traveled to Buka by train at noon, shortly after arriving in the Ukrainian capital and before his meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky, AFP correspondents said.

His trip to this war-torn country was described as “historic” by Kiev.

“This historic visit is a sign of solidarity and strong cooperation between Ukraine and Japan,” Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzaparova said on Facebook, posting photos of the Japanese prime minister at the train platform in Kiev.

“We are grateful to Japan for its strong support and contribution to our future victory,” he added.

Kishida became the first Japanese government leader to visit a war zone since the end of World War II.

His visit comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping is in Moscow for talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, with the war in Ukraine at the center of attention.

Kishida will “express to President Zelensky his respect for the courage and perseverance of the Ukrainian people defending their homeland under his leadership, as well as the solidarity and unwavering support of Japan and the G7,” whose Asian country is hosting this year, the Japanese diplomacy clarified in a press release.

Fumio Kishida was until today the only head of government or state of the world’s Group of Seven most industrialized nations who had not been to Kiev since the start of the Russian military’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. He had received repeated invitations to visit the Ukrainian capital. In February, US President Joe Biden also made an unannounced visit to Kiev.

Tokyo, aligning itself with Western countries, imposed economic sanctions on Moscow and offered assistance to Kiev.

In February, he announced a new aid package to Ukraine, worth 5.1 billion euros. It has also sent defense equipment and offered to host some refugees.

However, it does not send military aid, as the country’s Constitution, drawn up after the defeat of the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II, obliges Japan to devote its military capabilities to national defense alone.