War in Ukraine live After his visit to Italy Volodymyr

War in Ukraine, live: After his visit to Italy, Volodymyr Zelenskyy travels to Germany

Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Berlin to prepare for the Ukrainian counter-offensive

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is in Berlin for his first visit to Germany since the beginning of the war. After a trip to Rome and the Vatican the previous day, Mr Zelenskyi announced his arrival in Berlin on his Twitter account on Saturday night, stressing that this visit was dedicated to “a very important package” of arms shipments from his country and for the “reconstruction” of Ukraine.

The move comes amid preparations for a spring offensive by the Ukrainian army, as both Kiev and Moscow have made victories in and around Bachmout in the east of the country.

For security reasons, details of the Berlin visit were not immediately released. According to the German media, however, Mr. Zelenskyy has to meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Head of State Frank-Walter Steinmeier in the morning.

According to the daily Bild newspaper, Mr. Zelenskyy was also scheduled to fly to Aachen on board a German government Airbus in the afternoon to receive the Charlemagne Prize, an award that rewards commitment to European unification.

Mr. Zelenskyy is currently trying to mobilize his support in Europe while his army prepares a counter-offensive in the east of the country against Russian forces that was announced a few weeks ago. At the beginning of his visit, the German government said on Saturday that it was preparing a new military aid plan for Ukraine worth 2.7 billion euros.

“We all want a quick end to this cruel war of Russia against the Ukrainian people, but unfortunately it is not in sight. That is why Germany will provide any assistance for as long as necessary,” said Defense Minister Boris Pistorius.

Deliveries include dozens of tanks, armored vehicles, surveillance drones and four new IRIS-T air defense systems.

A Ukrainian presidential aide welcomed this support. However, Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Andri Melnyk said he had not gone far enough. “It is a pity that most of the promised defense systems are old (…). “It is also disappointing to see that the federal government continues (…) to refuse the delivery of combat aircraft,” he regretted on the television channel Welt TV.

Relations between Kiev and Berlin over military aid have long been strained, with Germany criticized for being too timid. But she has stepped up her support in recent months.