Volodymyr Zelensky met with the leaders of Germany, France, Romania and Italy in Kyiv
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky met with President of France Emmanuel Macron, Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz, President of Romania Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister of Italy Mario Draghi, who arrived in Ukraine on a visit.
Volodymyr Zelensky noted that the leaders of the four states first visited the city of Irpin in the Kyiv region, where they could see what the Russian occupiers had done on Ukrainian land.
"This visit of the four leaders to Kyiv and our negotiations have once again proved that our key strength and the most effective weapon is unification on which everything else depends," the Ukrainian Head of State said.
According to the President of Ukraine, during the meeting in Kyiv, the leaders of the five states discussed steps to continue and strengthen the defense of our country; issues of economic support for Ukrainian citizens and post-war reconstruction; opportunities to counter the food crisis provoked by Russia; further sanctions pressure on Russia, as well as Ukraine's European integration.
"I informed the partners about the current situation on the front. About heroic defense in Donbas, situation in the Kharkiv region and in the south of our state. I also informed them about daily missile strikes. The total number of various Russian missiles used against Ukraine, against the civilian population may approach three thousand already this month," the President said.
The President outlined Ukraine's priority needs in defense.
"We appreciate the support provided by partners. And we expect new supplies, especially heavy weapons, modern rocket artillery, missile defense systems and more. Each batch of such supplies means saved Ukrainians. And every day of delay or postponed decisions is an opportunity for the Russian military to kill Ukrainians and destroy our cities. There is a direct dependence: the more powerful weapons we get, the sooner we can liberate our people, our land," Volodymyr Zelensky said.
According to him, representatives of the international community are making many diplomatic efforts to restore peace in Ukraine, and everyone sees that "the only obstacle to all these efforts is Russia's unwillingness to real negotiations and real action to restore peace." The President noted that Russian troops continue a brutal offensive in Donbas, strengthen their group in the Kharkiv region, and reinforce bridgeheads in the south of Ukraine.
"The aggressor state must realize that there is no alternative to peace and must start looking for peace. Meanwhile, we all see - and heard today, when the air raid siren sounded - that Russia is only looking for new ways to intimidate Europe and seize more of our land," the President said.
Therefore, according to the President, during the meeting in Kyiv the heads of state spoke about the new sanctions steps of the European Union needed to restore peace.
"The seventh sanctions package must be agreed upon," he said.
In addition, the agenda of the talks between the leaders of the five states included work to compensate for all the losses caused by Russia to Ukraine, our citizens and businesses.
"We also paid attention to the ways to stop the global food crisis. Ukraine is doing everything possible to unblock our seaports, but this blockade must be lifted by the one who started it, namely the Russian Federation, and more specifically the Russian fleet. We are also grateful to Romania for its assistance in the transit of Ukrainian goods, including grain, through the Danube River. We discussed in detail with the present leaders how to increase these capabilities," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
"I am confident that this visit of our friends to Kyiv will go down in the history of our country and Europe," he added.
For his part, French President Emmanuel Macron said that from the first days of the war, Europe had sided with a free, sovereign Ukraine and defended the principles of international law that Russia had decided to ignore.
"We will never accept the choice in favour of war, destruction and chaos, in favour of armed aggression against a sovereign state and the conquest of a free people," he said.
According to the leader of the French Republic, the countries of the European Union have already provided Ukraine with economic, humanitarian and military support and will intensify it.
"I would like to convey a message from all of us: Europe stands side by side with Ukraine until victory, and the face of this victory is a free, independent, peaceful Ukraine," said the French President.
Emmanuel Macron stressed that it is Ukraine that will decide when and under what conditions it will sit down at the negotiating table with the Russian side to end the war. He noted that President Volodymyr Zelensky was doing everything possible to preserve peace in Ukraine.
According to him, the French Republic will strengthen military support for Ukraine. In particular, in the coming weeks, decisions will be made to provide additional CAESAR self-propelled howitzers, which will allow the Ukrainian soldiers to defend against the attacks by the Russian army more effectively.
Emmanuel Macron also noted that France has sent its experts to Ukraine to help document and investigate war crimes committed by the Russian army on the Ukrainian territory. According to him, all these crimes must not go unpunished. In this context, the President of France said that Ukraine will soon be provided with a mobile laboratory for DNA analysis, which will help gather evidence.
The leader of the French Republic also called for the adoption of a UN Security Council resolution on unblocking the Ukrainian ports.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz noted that the bravery of the Ukrainian military and citizens of Ukraine shown in the fight against the Russian invasion is admirable.
"Russia is forcibly trying to move borders inside Europe, and this is unacceptable. That is why Germany, along with other countries of the world, has sided with Ukraine since day one,” he said.
The Chancellor stressed that Germany supports Ukraine in defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity. In particular, it provides significant financial assistance and has sheltered about 800,000 Ukrainian citizens.
He also noted that Germany provides Ukraine with weapons and teaches the Ukrainian military to use modern weapons, self-propelled howitzers and anti-aircraft systems.
"We have also promised to provide IRIS systems that will protect entire cities from air raids. In addition, we have agreed with the United States and the United Kingdom that we will supply MLRS," Olaf Scholz said.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis stressed that his country stands in solidarity with Ukraine in the fight against the aggressor. He noted that Russia's aggression must be stopped and that all crimes committed by Russia must be investigated by international justice.
Klaus Iohannis noted that his country is providing all the necessary assistance to Ukrainians who have been forced to flee their homes due to the war, and that Romanian society has mobilized its efforts to support them. In particular, a humanitarian hub has been set up in Suceava, which is now operating at full capacity.
The President of Romania also stated that one of the elements of blackmail by Russia is the blockade of the export of Ukrainian grain. He stressed that the Black Sea port of Constanța and the port of the Danube River are being used for the transit of Ukrainian grain.
In addition, the issues of opening a new crossing point on the Ukrainian-Romanian border and the use of other logistics routes for the transportation of grain from Ukraine are being considered.
Prime Minister of Italy Mario Draghi underscored the support for the Ukrainian people, who have united and are fighting against Russian aggression. According to him, during the visit to Ukraine he saw the terrible consequences of the Russian occupation. Mario Draghi assured of his readiness to facilitate the investigations to document war crimes.
The Prime Minister of Italy also noted that work will be continued to ensure the transportation of Ukrainian grain and avoid the food crisis.
"Unfortunately, Russia doesn’t facilitate the resolution. We need to deal with this problem with the courage shown by President Zelensky. We must all act together," he said.
"We want peace, we want other cities not to be damaged. But Ukraine must defend itself to achieve peace. Peace must meet Ukraine’s expectations. It must be lasting," Mario Draghi summed up.