Volodymyr Zelenskyj on a European tour – Olaf Scholz: “Ukraine belongs to the European family”

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Zelenskyj on a European tour – Olaf Scholz: “Ukraine belongs to the European family”

Volodymyr Selenskyj (left), Olaf Scholz and Emmanuel Macron (right) in the Elysee Palace in Paris

© Photo: Thibault Camus/AP/DPA

“Freedom will triumph!” shouted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in London. What he needs against Russia, he says clearly in Paris with Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz: not only tanks, but also jets.

During surprise visits to London and Paris, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked the West for more weapons. His country’s army needs fighter jets in particular to win the defensive battle against Russia, said Selenskyj in London on his second trip abroad since the war began almost a year ago. There he met Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and King Charles III. In the evening Zelenskyj met French President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Paris.

Zelenskyy on the way to Brussels?

The dinner in the Elysée Palace should also be about further support for Ukraine, it was said in advance in Paris. The Ukrainian President is expected to continue to Brussels after meeting Scholz and Macron. An EU summit begins there on Thursday. Ukraine hopes to join the European Union soon. But the negotiations haven’t even started yet.

Chancellor Scholz (SPD) has promised Volodymyr Zelenskyj further military, humanitarian and financial support – for as long as necessary. “The Ukraine belongs to the European family. We stand close by their side on the way to advancing the defense of their own country,” he said at the start of a meeting with Zelenskyy and French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris. “The fact remains: Russia must not win this war.”

Previously, however, he had warned of a “outbidding competition”. “Cohesion within our alliance and our alliances is our greatest asset,” said the SPD politician. “What harms our unity, on the other hand, is a public outbidding competition along the lines of: battle tanks, submarines, airplanes – who wants more? What harms are pithy domestic political statements and criticism of partners and allies on the open stage.”

Paris tries to supply more arms to Ukraine

Emmanuel Macron promised Zelenskyy that France would help Ukraine win the fight against the Russian invasion. France is “determined” to help Ukraine “restore its legitimate rights,” the French president added. Paris will “continue to try” to deliver arms to Kyiv.

Great Britain is already one of Kiev’s closest supporters in the defensive fight against Russia – but the guest from Kyiv did not receive a firm commitment to deliver fighter jets there either. Sunak later only said that he had asked the Ministry of Defense to check the availability of jets. But it is a “long-term” solution, it said from Downing Street. Zelenskyj, on the other hand, made it clear that he wanted London to play a leading role when it came to combat aircraft. He thanked in advance for “capable English aircraft”.

At a press conference in the evening, Sunak announced that the British Challenger 2 main battle tanks, which had already been confirmed, are to be deployed in Ukraine as early as March. Longer-range missiles are also being discussed to help Kyiv protect civilians. Selenskyj emphasized the importance of missiles, for example to ward off drones. Ukraine is to receive 14 modern Leopard 2 main battle tanks from Germany.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy: “Freedom will triumph!”

Hundreds of people gathered in Westminster Hall, the oldest part of Parliament in London, for a speech by Selensky in front of Parliament. The President thanked him emphatically for the British arms deliveries and was confident about the outcome of the war: “We know: Freedom will win! And we know that this victory will change the world. It will be a victory that it took the world a long time.”

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