Ukraine: Zelenskyy’s list of goals as he lands in Germany | world news

When President Volodymyr Zelensky landed in Germany, he arrived with a list of goals.

“Already in Berlin. Weapons. Powerful package. Air defence. Reconstruction. EU. NATO. Security,” he tweeted.

Even before it landed, some of these requests had already been met.

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Saturday, the German the government has promised Kyiv further arms shipments worth 2.7 billion euros (£2.35 billion).

The country’s largest military support package to date includes artillery, air defense, infantry fighting vehicles and 30 Leopard 1 A5 main battle tanks.

It is a dizzying change of position for Berlin which, at the start of the war, frustrated Ukraine with his reluctance to send arms.

It was not until January, amid mounting pressure, that Germany finally agreed to allow Leopard 2 main battle tanks be sent.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyj meets Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the Chancellery, President Volodymyr Zelenskyj visits Germany May 14, 2023 Official visit of the President of Ukraine to Germany.  Photo by: Presidential Office of Ukraine/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Photo: AP

Despite the perceived slow start, it is now one of Ukraine’s biggest financial and military backers.

However, frustration over the arms shipments was not the only bone of contention.

Even before the Russian invasion, kyiv was wary of Germany’s reliance on Russian energy and continued economic ties with Moscow under Angela Merkel.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was disinvited from Ukraine last year over his past close relationship with Russia – a snub that has irked Germany after providing financial support and hosting more than a million refugees.

While President Steinmeier and Chancellor Olaf Scholz have both visited Ukraine since, At Mr. Zelensky’s A warm encounter with them on Sunday was as much about building bridges as it was about ensuring continued support.

Ultimately, Ukraine may not agree with all of Germany’s actions – it knows it is a European power and an important partner to keep on its side.

“Germany has proven to be our true friend”

During his first visit since the Russian invasion, President Zelensky thanked the German government for its “fantastic solidarity”.

In a guestbook, he insisted on this point, writing: “In the most difficult period of modern Ukrainian history, Germany proved to be our true friend and reliable ally. Together we will overcome and bring peace to Europe.”

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In return, Olaf Scholz said the visit sent a “strong signal” and pledged to support Ukraine “as long as it takes”.

The trip was also crucial in maintaining German public support.

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While most support Ukraine, Germany’s own history means many fear an escalating conflict in Europe.

The majority also oppose accelerating Ukraine’s NATO membership, according to a recent poll, while the cost of living crisis adds a financial concern.

An Ipsos survey in January showed that the share of Germans who believed the country could not afford to lend financial support to Ukraine due to the current economic crisis rose by nine percentage points to 56%.

The longer the war drags on, the more doubts could creep in – so visits from the world’s most-watched president, showing he is grateful, go a long way to building lasting support.


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