Zelensky in Berlin to prepare his counter-offensive

The Ukrainian president arrived in Berlin overnight from Saturday to Sunday for his first visit since the start of the war in Germany, which wants as a sign of solidarity to deliver new weapons worth 2.7 billion euros .

After Rome and the Vatican the day before, Mr. Zelensky arrived in Germany, he announced on his Twitter account, stressing that his visit would be devoted to “a very important package” of arms deliveries to his country as well as to the “reconstruction” of Ukraine.

The move comes amid preparations for a spring offensive by the Ukrainian army, as kyiv and Moscow both claim success in and around Bakhmout.

Details of the visit to Berlin were not immediately released for security reasons.

But according to German media, Volodymyr Zelensky must meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Head of State Frank-Walter Steinmeier in the morning.

– European price –

Mr. Zelensky should also, according to the daily Bild, go to Aachen in the afternoon on board a German government Airbus, protected by Luftwaffe fighters, to be awarded the Charlemagne prize. A distinction rewarding a commitment to European unification.

“For the first time in its long history, the Charlemagne Prize recognizes with this award that freedom and the fundamental principles of Europe must, if necessary, be defended by force”, underlined this week the director of the committee organizing the award, Jürgen Linden, in the German daily Tagesspiegel.

Mr. Zelensky is currently trying to mobilize his support in Europe at a time when his army is preparing a counter-offensive in the east of the country against the Russian forces, announced several weeks ago.

On the occasion of his visit, the German government announced on Saturday that it was preparing a new military aid plan for Ukraine of 2.7 billion euros.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius on May 3, 2023 at the ministry in Berlin (AFP/Archives - Tobias SCHWARZ)
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius on May 3, 2023 at the ministry in Berlin (AFP/Archives – Tobias SCHWARZ)

“We all want a quick end to this atrocious war by Russia against the Ukrainian people, but unfortunately it is not in sight. That is why Germany will provide all the help it can, for as long as necessary. “, said Defense Minister Boris Pistorius.

Deliveries include dozens of tanks, armored vehicles, surveillance drones and four new Iris-T air defense systems.

A Ukrainian presidential adviser welcomed this support. However, Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrij Melnyk said he did not go far enough.

– Critiques –

“It is a pity that most of the promised defense systems are old (…) It is also disappointing to see that the German government continues to refuse (…) the delivery of combat aircraft, this taboo must be urgently broken”, regretted the former Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, on the television channel Welt TV.

The United Kingdom has just announced the supply of Storm Shadow cruise missiles to Ukraine, becoming the first country to deliver this type of long-range weapon, which can strike at 250 kilometers.

Relations between kyiv and Berlin over military aid have long been strained, with Germany being criticized for being too timid. But she has ramped up her support in recent months.

Thursday on the BBC, Mr. Zelensky explained that he “still needs a little extra time” for the spring offensive, in order to avoid too heavy losses and to break through the Russian lines.

It is for kyiv to try to regain ground in the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk (east) as well as Kherson and Zaporijjia (south) whose annexation Moscow has claimed.

– Confrontation in Bakhmout –

At the Vatican on Saturday, the Ukrainian head of state met Pope Francis and thanked him for “the attention he pays” to the “tragedy of millions of Ukrainians”.

He also spoke with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who assured him of her “full and total support to facilitate the gradual integration of kyiv into the European Union”.

Ukrainian soldiers aboard a T-64 tank near Bakhmout, in the Donetsk region, on May 7, 2023 (AFP/Archives - Sergey SHESTAK)
Ukrainian soldiers aboard a T-64 tank near Bakhmout, in the Donetsk region, on May 7, 2023 (AFP/Archives – Sergey SHESTAK)

On the ground, the Ukrainian army said on Saturday “to advance” around Bakhmout, the epicenter of the fighting with Russian troops in eastern Ukraine, while Moscow assured to continue its progress in the city already mainly under its control and largely devastated today.

According to a Ukrainian judicial source, a Russian strike near Bakhmout on Saturday left two dead and ten injured, including children.

The battle for Bakhmout is the bloodiest and longest since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, 2022.

Source: Challenges en temps réel : accueil by www.challenges.fr.

*The article has been translated based on the content of Challenges en temps réel : accueil by www.challenges.fr. If there is any problem regarding the content, copyright, please leave a report below the article. We will try to process as quickly as possible to protect the rights of the author. Thank you very much!

*We just want readers to access information more quickly and easily with other multilingual content, instead of information only available in a certain language.

*We always respect the copyright of the content of the author and always include the original link of the source article.If the author disagrees, just leave the report below the article, the article will be edited or deleted at the request of the author. Thanks very much! Best regards!