German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi will travel to kyiv on Thursday to show European solidarity with the Ukrainian people in the face of Russia’s invasion. Macron will first travel to the neighboring countries of Romania and Moldova. Both countries discuss the threat posed by the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. Another issue is the desire of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia to join the European Union. At the EU summit on June 23-24, Brussels wants to decide on the candidate status of the three countries.
The visit to kyiv by the three European leaders will last six hours, and the central issue on the agenda will be, in addition to these European perspectives, the supply of weapons. Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky has called for European leaders not to come to kyiv empty-handed, so Draghi, Scholz and Macron are expected to take more than words with them.
Zelensky’s requests to the West are repeated as the war drags on and Russian troops advance in the Donbas region, which they already control almost 90%. That makes the bite that the Kremlin has given to Ukraine represents 22% of the territory. When this new offensive began in February, Russia controlled 7%.
Zelenskiy pointed out, however, that the Russian offensive in Donbas has begun to lose steam, and that the Ukrainian Armed Forces will retake Donbas and the Crimean peninsula. “Tell all the inhabitants of the Donbas region who are still forced to see Russian flags on our Ukrainian land. Tell them that the Ukrainian Army will liberate them,” the president asserted in a statement from the Presidency of Ukraine. Thus, he stressed that “of course, they will also liberate Crimea. The Ukrainian flag will return to wave over Yalta and Sudak, over Dzhankoi and Yevpatoria. And let all Russian officials who have seized precious land in Crimea remember: in this land you will have no peace.”
“We have to do much more together to win this war,” Zelensky said in an interview published Tuesday in the German daily Zeit. In particular, he said, his country needs more modern artillery, such as longer-range multiple rocket launchers.
Supplies from Germany – a sensitive issue between the two countries since the start of the war in February – were “still less than what was said they could be”, the Ukrainian leader said.
The kyiv authorities have maintained constant pressure on Berlin since the start of the war, urging it to abandon its caution in handing over weapons. The debate is currently centered on when the promised delivery of heavier weapons will be.
In an interview with German broadcaster ZDF late yesterday, Zelensky asked Scholz to “assure us that Germany supports Ukraine.” Asked if he would like the foreign minister to use the phrase that Ukraine “must win” the war, Zelensky told Zeit: “Whatever the reaction, dozens of people are dying here in Ukraine every day… So say what you whatever you want and how you want it, but help us. Please.”
Zelenski ruled out on Monday in an interview with the German television channel ZDF holding peace talks with Russia until Moscow “is ready to end the war.” “We don’t have time for conversations that don’t work,” he explained. “We are in our territory. This is our town,” he said, before adding that “everything will be lost if the war with Russia is lost.”
The Ukrainian president called on Scholz “not to maintain an equidistance between Ukraine and Russia” and called for “a tougher stance” towards Moscow, “even if it harms the German economy.” Scholz believes that Germany is doing a lot and always in coordination with European and NATO partners.
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