As Berlin provided unwavering support for Kyiv ahead of a hotly anticipated counteroffensive on May 14, the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, referred to Germany as a “true friend” in his country’s conflict with Russia.
Germany presented Ukraine with a new weapons package worth “€2.7 billion ($3 billion),” its largest ever for Ukraine, during Mr. Zelenskyy’s first trip to Germany following Russia’s incursion.
The president of Ukraine travelled to Berlin, the capital of Germany for talks with Steinmeier and Scholz after meeting with “Italian officials and Pope Francis” in Rome.
His next stop will be France, another “European powerhouse,” where talks with President Emmanuel Macron are anticipated in Paris, sources told AFP.
The Ukrainian president would be making his second trip to France following Russia’s invasion of his nation last year. In February, Zelensky visited Paris for a late-night stopover and had meetings with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Prior to the EU summit in Reykjavik and the G7 summit in Japan, Zelensky is on a weekend diplomatic tour.
“Everything in this safety programme will significantly improve our defence,” he said in Berlin, thanking Chancellor Olaf Scholz for Germany’s “powerful support” in the shape of the weaponry package.
“We will now decide how this battle will conclude this year. We can render the aggressor’s defeat irrecoverable this year,” he said.
Later, Mr. Scholz and Mr. Zelenskyy travelled towards the western city of Aachen, where Mr. Zelenskyy was to receive the Charlemagne award for his work to advance European unification at an event that also included the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
Numerous hundred supporters of Ukraine gathered in Aachen ahead of Mr. Zelenskyy’s arrival to hold blue balloons and carry blue and yellow flags around their shoulders.
Olga Zelenska, 37, told AFP that her motivation for travelling was to support her nation. When asked how her people felt about receiving the Charlemagne award, she replied, “We are proud.”