The Ukrainian President Zelenskyj lands in Berlin. It is a first visit to Germany since Vladimir Putin’s troops attacked Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has traveled to Germany for political talks for the first time since the Russian attack on his country. “Already in Berlin,” Zelenskyj tweeted early Sunday morning.
For security reasons, Selenskyj’s exact program has not yet been announced. However, there was speculation that the guest from Kiev would be received by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). The Charlemagne Prize for European Merit, which was awarded to Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people in December, will be presented in Aachen on Sunday afternoon.
Government circles in Berlin had confirmed to the German Press Agency on Saturday that the visit would take place on Sunday. Shortly before his arrival, the German government had already sent the Ukrainian President a welcome greeting: it promised him further weapons worth 2.7 billion euros for the defensive fight against the troops of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Selenskyj was last in Germany a few days before the start of the war for the Munich Security Conference in February 2022. For the first ten months after the Russian invasion, he didn’t leave the country at all. He changed that at the end of last year. In the meantime he has been to Washington, Warsaw, Paris, London, Brussels, Helsinki and The Hague. On Saturday he met Pope Francis and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in Rome before continuing to Germany.
For security reasons, Zelenskyy’s trips abroad are usually kept secret until the last minute. This also explains the reluctance of the federal government to announce the program of visits.
The visit on Saturday was prepared with the promise of further military support for Ukraine. Among other things, 20 more Marder armored personnel carriers, 30 Leopard 1 tanks and four Iris-T SLM anti-aircraft systems are to be provided by the German defense industry, as the Ministry of Defense announced. In addition, the Ukrainian Armed Forces will receive 18 wheeled howitzers, ammunition for artillery and air defense systems, more than 100 armored combat vehicles and over 200 reconnaissance drones. However, some weapon deliveries from the package have been planned for a long time.
In a keynote speech in front of the EU Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday, Scholz assured Ukraine of continued support for the defense against the Russian attackers. “Let’s remain steadfast in our support for Ukraine for as long as it takes,” he said.
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