Sunday, June 4, 2023

EU honors Zelensky in Germany for his commitment to European “values”

German head of government Olaf Scholz (R) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shake hands during a joint press conference in Berlin, May 14, 2023.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, received an award this Sunday for his commitment to European “values” during a visit to Germany, a country he described as a “true friend” a day before announcing a military aid package. Continue your journey to France.

“President Zelensky and the people of Ukraine are fighting for the values ​​and obligation that this award embodies,” European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said in Aachen, West Germany.

“And in doing so, they are also fighting for our own freedom and our values. Democracy and the rule of law, freedom of expression and the freedom to make our own destinies,” he added during the Charlemagne Prize award ceremony, which promotes European unity.

The German head of government, Olaf Scholz, who accompanied the Ukrainian president to this German city, for his part assured that “Ukraine is part of our European family.”

“Russia’s war of aggression has brought the EU and Ukraine closer than ever,” he stressed.

The two leaders met a few hours earlier in Berlin, where Zelensky thanked the new military aid package announced by the government the day before.

“During the most difficult time in Ukraine’s modern history, Germany proved to be our true friend and our reliable ally,” Zelensky wrote in the German presidential guest book.

Diplomatic sources said Zelensky would visit France after trips to Germany and Italy, where he met Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Pope Francis on Saturday.

His visit to these European countries coincides with Kiev’s latest preparations to launch a counteroffensive in eastern Ukraine with a view to recovering territories captured after a Russian invasion on February 24, 2022.

– ‘Trusted Ally’ –

In Berlin, Zelensky and his foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, attended a meeting with several German ministers, including the head of diplomacy, Annalena Bayerbock.

The Ukrainian President also met with his counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

During the meetings, the Ukrainian president assured not to “attack Russian territory” and to focus on the liberation of the occupied territories.

He also took the opportunity to ask Scholz to support the delivery of fighter planes, which Germany has so far rejected.

Relations between Kiev and Berlin have long been strained over military aid, with Germany criticized for failing to provide enough weapons, although it has stepped up its support in recent months.

On the occasion of his visit, Berlin announced on Saturday a new military aid plan for Ukraine worth 2.7 billion euros [unos 2.900 millones USD]According to the weekly Der Spiegel, a record number since the start of the conflict.

Scholz assured that Berlin would support Ukraine for “as long as it takes”, and indicated that its commitments to Kiev, including arms, are already 17,000 million euros. [18.400 USD],

The new package includes dozens of tanks, armored vehicles, surveillance drones and four new Iris-T air defense systems.

But Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign Minister Andriy Melnyk recognized that this was not enough.

– Ukraine retakes Bakhmut –

“It is a pity that most of the promised defense systems are out of date,” lamented the former Ukrainian ambassador to Germany on Welt TV, urging the “taboo” on the delivery of the fighters to be broken.

“The issue of fighters is a priority for Ukraine (…). We need modern fighters to defend Ukraine’s skies”, Andrei Ermak, Zelensky’s chief of staff, insisted on Sunday.

Ukraine is trying to recapture the Donetsk and Lugansk regions (east) as well as territory in Gershon and Zaporizhia (south), which is claimed by Russia.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Russian Wagner paramilitary group, once again pointed to the inaction of the Russian regular army in Bakhmut, where fighting is concentrated in eastern Ukraine.

Kiev and Moscow both claim advantage around this devastated city, which is mostly controlled by Russian forces.

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Maliar wrote on a telegram that Kiev troops captured “more than 10 positions” from the Russians in the city’s suburbs. “Heavy fighting is continuing in the city,” he added.

The Russian Defense Ministry, for its part, claimed to have hit sites that transport Western weapons to Kiev in Ternopol (west) and Petropavlivka (centre-east).

In a rare announcement of battlefield casualties, the Russian Defense Ministry nevertheless reported the deaths of two Russian soldiers on the front lines.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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