Ukraine: France, Germany, Italy, Poland leaders set to meet Zelenskyy in Kyiv as air raid sirens ring out
The leaders of France, Italy and Germany arrived in Kyiv Thursday morning from Poland where they were expected to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a show of support.
French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi rode in a train car bound for the country’s capital.
“It’s a message of European unity for the Ukrainian people, support now and in the future, because the weeks to come will be very difficult,” Macron told reporters when they arrived.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis took a separate train to meet the leaders.
“This illegal Russian aggression must stop!” Iohannis tweeted when he arrived.
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The visit will be the first by the men since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February and comes amid a fierce battle in the disputed Donbas region as the war extends into its fourth month, the AFP news agency reported.
It also marks the most high-profile visit since the invasion.
Air raid sirens rang out while the men were in their hotel preparing for the meeting – not an infrequent occurrence in Kyiv.
Holding his heart as he left his Kyiv hotel, Macron said in English, “I want to show my admiration for the Ukrainian people.”
German news agency dpa quoted Scholz as saying that the leaders are seeking to show solidarity but also their commitment to keeping up their financial and humanitarian help for Ukraine, and their supply of weapons.
Scholz added that this support would continue “for as long as is necessary for Ukraine’s fight for independence.”
Other world leaders like UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have met with Zelenskyy in Kyiv.
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The trip was unannounced but Macron had already been visiting the region.
Macron said in Romania this week that Ukraine and Russia would eventually have to talk.
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“At some point, when we will have helped Ukraine as much as possible to resist, when I hope Ukraine will have won and fighting will have stopped, we will have to negotiate,” he told reporters, according to the Wall Street Journal. He was in the country visiting French troops.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.