German, French and Italian leaders arrive in Kyiv to show solidarity

German, French and Italian leaders arrive in Kyiv to show solidarity

Kyiv, June 16 (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi arrived in Kyiv on Thursday for a joint trip to show their support for Ukraine, which is fighting a Russian attack fights

The three traveled together overnight on a train that used to transport high-profile visitors to Ukraine.

“It’s an important moment. It is a message of unity that we are sending to the Ukrainians, of support, to talk about both the present and the future because, as we know, the coming weeks will be very difficult,” said Macron They arrived .

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Romanian President Klaus Iohannis will join them for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who are expected to address Kiev’s bid to join the European Union and the war itself.

The visit has taken weeks to organize as the three men try to overcome criticism within Ukraine of their response to the war.

“We are here, we are focused, we will join President Zelenskyy to go to a theater of war where massacres have taken place,” Macron said.

When asked why the visit is happening now, an Elysee official said they thought it best to do it just ahead of an EU summit next week that will discuss Kiev’s bid to join the 27-nation bloc shall be.

The European Commission on Friday is due to issue a recommendation on Ukraine’s status as a candidate for EU membership, something Europe’s biggest nations have been lukewarm about.

“A balance has to be found between Ukraine’s natural aspirations to (join) the EU at a very special time and the attention given to all countries that already have candidate status and are stuck in the negotiating chapters, and the fact that we don’t have the EU destabilize the EU or break it up,” said the Elysee official.

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks to journalists as he arrives at the railway station in Kyiv, Ukraine, June 16, 2022. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS

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Zelenskyi is expected to urge his visitors to send more weapons to help his hard-pressed army withstand the Russian invaders.

Kyiv has accused France, Germany and, to a lesser extent, Italy of delaying their support for Ukraine, saying they have been slow in delivering arms and putting their own prosperity ahead of Ukraine’s freedom and security.

A senior official from an EU country said that Zelenskyy was “in a really difficult situation: not only does the Ukrainian army need weapons, but there is also an increasing lack of soldiers”.

Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Zelenskyy, told German newspaper Bild this week that he was concerned the three leaders would pressure Kyiv to accept a peace deal favorable to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“They will say that we need to end the war that is causing food problems and economic problems… that we need to save Mr. Putin’s face,” he said, referencing comments by Macron this month on the importance of keeping him off humiliate Russian leader. Continue reading

Regarding those concerns, Draghi said on Tuesday it was important for the peace talks to start as soon as possible, but added that they “must be conducted on terms that Ukraine finds acceptable”.

Ukraine has been particularly critical of German military aid, and the country’s ambassador to Berlin, Andriy Melnyk, told German broadcaster NTV he expects Scholz to hand over heavy weapons that have long been promised but have not yet been delivered.

Scholz has denied allegations that he withheld much-needed military support, saying Germany is one of Ukraine’s biggest military and financial supporters and that it takes time to train Ukrainian soldiers to use the sophisticated artillery systems it offers.

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Additional reporting by Sarah Marsh and Andreas Rinke in Berlin, John Irish, Michel Rose and Benoit Van Overstraeten in Paris; writing by Crispian Balmer and Ingrid Melander; Edited by Toby Chopra, Mark Potter and Angus MacSwan

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