Zelensky Thanks European Leaders for Solidarity Visit to Kyiv
The leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Romania paid a visit to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. They met on Thursday at the Mariinsky Palace in Kyiv. Zelensky writes on Telegram that he is happy with the visit and appreciates “the solidarity with our country and our people”.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz thanked Zelensky for the open conversation and emphasized that Europe remains on the side of Ukraine. Macron said in advance that this is an important moment. He wanted to convey to Zelensky “a message of European solidarity”. On Friday, the European Commission will issue an opinion on Ukraine’s application to join the European Union. Zelensky hopes that his country can accede more quickly, but countries such as the Netherlands and Germany still have doubts about whether Ukraine can become a candidate member.
Zelensky has also long been asking for more and heavier weapons from the West. Scholz in particular would linger too long with the deliveries. On Wednesday, Germany promised to send three rocket launchers. The Kremlin responded by saying that new Western weapons are “useless” and will only cause more damage in Ukraine.
Kiev has also criticized Macron lately for not cracking down on Russia hard enough. The French president wants to continue to communicate with the Kremlin, to be able to negotiate a possible ceasefire. Ukraine fears that the economic interests of the rest of Europe will outweigh a Ukrainian victory in the war. In any case, Ukraine has provided European leaders with a list of new sanctions proposals for Russia.
Earlier in the day, the four men visited Irpin, the Kyiv suburb that suffered badly at the start of the war. The leaders were impressed by the havoc they saw there. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi does not want to leave the destroyed playgrounds and kindergartens like this. “We will rebuild everything.”