Ukraines Zelenskyy met with German leaders in Berlin and discussed.webp

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy met with German leaders in Berlin and discussed arms shipments – The Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) – German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier welcomed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Berlin on Sunday for his first visit to the country since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Zelenskyy’s visit on Sunday comes as he seeks more arms shipments to help his country repel Russian invasion and funds to rebuild what was destroyed in more than a year of devastating conflict.

An Air Force jet flew Zelenskyy from Rome to the German capital, where he met with Pope Francis and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Saturday.

On the eve of his arrival – which is taking place under tight security – the German government announced a new military aid package for Ukraine worth more than 2.7 billion euros, including tanks, anti-aircraft systems and ammunition.

“Already in Berlin. Weapons. Powerful package. air defense. Reconstruction. EU. NATO. Security,” Zelenskyy tweeted on Sunday, apparently referring to the main priorities of his trip.

After initially being reluctant to supply Ukraine with lethal weapons, Germany has grown to become one of Ukraine’s largest suppliers of weapons, including Leopard 1 and 2 main battle tanks and the advanced IRIS-T SLM air defense system. Modern Western hardware is believed to be crucial to the success of Ukraine’s planned counter-offensive against Russian troops.

Zelenskyi met for the first time with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German head of state who was snubbed by Kiev last year, apparently over his previous close ties with Russia, leading to a cooling in diplomatic relations between Ukraine and Germany.

Since then, both Steinmeier and Chancellor Olaf Scholz have visited Ukraine and pledged their support to Zelenskyy in his country’s fight against the Russian invasion. When announcing the new arms package, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said Berlin would help Ukraine “for as long as necessary”.

After meeting Scholz and other senior officials at the Chancellery, the two leaders are expected to fly to the western city of Aachen, where Zelenskyy will receive the International Charlemagne Prize awarded to him and the people of Ukraine.

Organizers say the award recognizes that their resistance to the Russian invasion was a defense “not only of their country’s sovereignty and the lives of its citizens, but also of Europe and European values.”

While German leaders have expressed strong support for Ukraine, German voters are divided on whether the country should provide more weapons, particularly advanced warplanes, like the ones Kiev is demanding of its allies.


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