European leaders promise arms to Ukraine, the EU way

Leaders of four European nations pledged more weapons and a path to European Union membership after meeting Ukrainian leaders in Kyiv on Thursday.

President Emmanuel Macron of France on Thursday promised Ukraine six additional powerful artillery pieces on trucks, as part of an effort he said: “[to do] all so that Ukraine alone can decide its fate.”

Macron met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis in Kyiv for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and a subsequent tour of the capital’s war-torn suburbs.

The announcement follows a German pledge to deliver three medium-range missile systems to Ukraine and a massive US$1 billion US package that includes anti-ship missiles, rocket launchers and conventional artillery systems.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz
Various heads of state of European countries held a press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (centre) in Kyiv.
POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Press conference in Kyiv
The leaders met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and then toured the war-ravaged suburbs of Kyiv.

The leaders arrived in the Ukrainian capital to the sound of air raid sirens warning of more Russian missiles. They then toured Irpin, a Kyiv suburb that had seen fierce fighting and many civilian casualties during the failed Russian attempt to overthrow the Zelensky government earlier in the war.

In response to the destruction, Sholz noted the Russian decision to target a city of little military value.

“Innocent civilians have been hit, homes have been destroyed; An entire city was destroyed where there was no military infrastructure at all,” said the German leader. “And that says a lot about the brutality of the Russian war of aggression, which aims only at destruction and conquest.

Emmanuel Macron Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
French President Emmanuel Macron has promised Ukraine six truck-mounted artillery pieces.
Discussions about Ukraine
Italy, Germany and France pledged to support Ukraine’s accession to the EU.
Ukraine tour
As the leaders marched through Kiev’s battered suburbs, air sirens blared warning of more Russian attacks.

“We have to take that into account in all decisions,” he added.

Draghi, Italy’s prime minister, said a larger Europe would help Ukraine’s recovery efforts.

“They destroyed the kindergartens, the playgrounds and everything is being rebuilt,” he said.

Italy, Germany and France are the three largest economic powerhouses in the European Union and their leaders have been criticized for not visiting the Ukrainian capital earlier.

French President Emmanuel Macron said France would “do everything so that Ukraine alone can decide its fate”.
Kyiv tour
Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Russia was targeting innocent civilians.
Kyiv tour
Chancellor Olaf Scholz denounced the “brutality” of Russia’s “war of aggression”.

The three said they plan to back Ukraine’s pending bid to join the economic bloc. Ukraine’s bid for EU membership has long been viewed as a threat by Russia.

In 2013, then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych backed out of an expected economic deal with the European Union, opting instead for a deal with Russia, sparking the Euromaidan protests that led to Yanukovych’s ouster and Russia’s first incursion into Ukrainian territory of the year 2014 led.

After Thursday’s tour of Irpin, Romania’s Iohannis called for justice.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, left, French President Emmanuel Macron, second from left, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, right, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, second from right,
Russia has long viewed Ukraine’s EU accession as a threat.

“All Russian perpetrators should be held accountable by international criminal justice [system]’ he said on Twitter.

The leader, whose country borders Ukraine and has taken in a significant number of refugees since the war began, struck an emotional note.

There were “no words to describe the unimaginable human tragedy and terrible destruction,” he said.

With mail wires European leaders promise arms to Ukraine, the EU way


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