President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised Germany as a “true buddy and dependable ally” after it introduced it’s going to provide €2.7bn of further army assist for Ukraine and construct a weapons manufacturing facility within the nation.
Zelenskyy’s go to to Germany on Sunday, his first since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, marks a big enchancment in bilateral ties after Kyiv, on the onset of the battle, accused Germany of dithering in its assist for Ukraine.
Zelenskyy met German chancellor Olaf Scholz, president Frank-Walter Steinmeier and different officers a day after visiting Rome to satisfy Italian leaders and Pope Francis.
Germany, which in January determined to ship its Leopard 2 predominant battle tanks to Ukraine, on Saturday introduced it’s going to present the nation with further weapons value €2.7bn to Ukraine. In keeping with the German defence ministry, Berlin has supplied €4.2bn of army support since 2022.
German heavy weapons producer Rheinmetall on Saturday introduced that it’ll construct a manufacturing facility to restore and repair tanks in Ukraine in a three way partnership with state-owned defence group Ukroboronprom.
The deliveries will embrace 18 self-propelled howitzers, 4 IRIS-T SLM air defence techniques, 30 older Leopard 1 MBTs and 20 Marder infantry combating automobiles, in addition to artillery munition. In a submit on Twitter, Zelenskyy referred to as the deal the “largest army support bundle because the starting of the full-scale Russian invasion” and stated German tools was “saving Ukrainian lives and bringing us nearer to victory”.
Reflecting the improved ties, defence minister Boris Pistorius stated Germany would supply assist for “so long as its takes” to finish the “Russian battle towards the Ukrainian folks”. In April final yr, Steinmeier scrapped a go to to Ukraine after admitting he wouldn’t be welcome, although the German president did meet his Ukrainian counterpart in Kyiv in October.
Rheinmetall’s chief government Armin Papperger stated on Saturday that the German arms maker would “collectively produce chosen Rheinmetall merchandise in Ukraine” with Ukroboronprom.
On Sunday afternoon, Zelenskyy and Scholz travelled to the western German metropolis of Aachen the place the Ukrainian president and his nation’s folks will probably be awarded a prize to honour achievements in fostering European unification.
Zelenskyy’s in a single day flight to Berlin got here as Russian forces performed air strikes on Ternopil, a western metropolis residence to digital music duo Tvorchi who have been on the time representing Ukraine within the finals of the Eurovision Track Contest. Received final yr by Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra, this yr’s Eurovision contest was held in Liverpool within the UK as a substitute of Ukraine on account of safety issues.
Zelenskyy arrived in Berlin after a visit to Rome, the place he met Italian president Sergio Mattarella and prime minister Giorgia Meloni, who stated Rome endorsed Kyiv’s personal 10-point peace plan.
Italy, which signed a joint declaration with Zelenskyy supporting Ukraine’s bid to hitch the EU and Nato army alliance, has contributed round €1bn in army and humanitarian help to Ukraine because the begin of the battle, together with Samp-T air defence techniques. “We’re betting on the victory of Ukraine,” Meloni stated in a press look with Zelenskky.
Zelenskyy met Pope Francis, who has been criticised by some Ukrainians for his reluctance to explicitly denounce Russia for its full-scale invasion. Pope Francis shocked many when he instructed reporters in early Could that he was concerned in a secret “peace mission”, which neither Kyiv nor Moscow stated they knew something about.
Whereas Zelenskyy stated he was grateful for the pontiff’s curiosity within the plight of greater than 19,000 Ukrainian youngsters taken to Russia, he additionally referred to as on Pope Francis to carry Russia to account and assist Ukraine’s 10-point peace plan. The Worldwide Legal Court docket earlier this yr introduced an arrest warrant for Russian president Vladimir Putin, citing pressured deportations of Ukrainian youngsters.
“There might be no equality between the sufferer and the aggressor,” stated the Ukrainian president. “I additionally talked about our peace formulation as the one efficient algorithm for a simply peace. I proposed becoming a member of its implementation.”
Extra reporting by Giuliana Ricozzi in Rome