Draghi, Marcron, Scholz in a meeting

By Biodun Busari

The French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Premier, Mario Draghi have arrived in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine on Thursday.

Romanian President, Klaus Iohannis, will join the three European leaders as they expect to meet the war-troubled Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

A media French report said their visit is a show of combined European support for Ukraine as it tries to resist Russia’s invasion.

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The European leaders are expected to meet with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the highest-profile Western visit to Kyiv since Russia sent in troops to Ukraine February 24.

The visit comes as EU leaders get ready to make a decision on June 23-24 on Ukraine’s request to become a candidate for EU membership, and ahead of an important NATO summit, June 29-30, in Madrid.

Also Thursday, NATO defense ministers are meeting in Brussels to evaluate more military aid for Ukraine.

On Wednesday, the United States and Germany announced more support, as America and its allies offer longer-range weapons they assert can make a difference in a fight where Ukrainian forces are outnumbered and outgunned by their Russian invaders.

Also, on Tuesday, during a trip to Ukraine’s neighbours Romania and Moldova, Macron said a “message of support” must be sent to Ukraine before EU heads of state and government “have to make important decisions” at their Brussels meeting.

“We are in a moment where we need to send clear political signals — we, Europeans, we the European Union — toward Ukraine and the Ukrainian people,” Macron said.

Macron is deeply involved in diplomatic efforts to push for a cease-fire in Ukraine that would allow future peace negotiations.

He has numerous discussions with Zelenskyy and with several phone conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin since Putin launched the invasion in late February.

Scholz had long resisted traveling to Kyiv, saying he didn’t want to “join the queue of people who do a quick in-out for a photo opportunity.”

Instead, Scholz said, a trip should focus on doing “concrete things.”

Germany declared, Wednesday, its support to provide Ukraine with three multiple launch rocket systems of the kind that Kyiv has said it urgently needs to defend itself against Russia’s invasion.

Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said Germany will transfer three M270 medium-range artillery rocket systems along with ammunition to Ukraine.

Germany said the transfer, which echoes similar moves by Britain and the United States, will be accompanied by training and will have “a swift and significant battlefield impact”.

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