TOUR OF Kyiv
Mission to close ranks: EU trio promise Selenski candidate status – but no new weapons
Germany, France and Italy agree that Ukraine should immediately receive candidate status for EU membership. It is a great symbolic success for Kyiv. For the moment, however, no new arms deliveries have been announced.
At half past eight in the morning, the time had come: after an overnight journey of almost ten hours, the special train with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi arrived at the kyiv main station. For security reasons, the key points of the tour have been kept secret until the very end. Now the three EU heavyweights were there, accompanied by heavily armed bodyguards.
The three heads of government had had a short night: they sat together in Macron’s car, which was in the middle of the train, until two o’clock in the morning. Scholz wanted to know from Draghi if it was so nice to him. “It’s much simpler for me and not as luxurious,” complained Draghi. But whatever. Macron is also the president of the Union, the Italian joked, referring to the Frenchman’s European ambitions.
War very close: missile alert in Kyiv, horror in Irpin
In any case, the atmosphere seemed to suit the trio. The fact that after four months of war they are now traveling to Kyiv for the first time and in threes, the Ukrainians took it as a sign of support that could hardly be overstated. “We very much appreciate your solidarity with our country and our people,” President Volodomir Zelenskiy said.
After a short stay at the hotel, darkened by a missile alert, the visit to Irpin was on the program, one of those suburbs of kyiv badly damaged during the Russian siege. Hundreds of civilians were killed by the Russians here and in the nearby town of Bucha. International experts investigate war crimes.
Macron, Scholz and Draghi were deeply impressed. Scholz spoke of “the senseless violence of the war of Russian aggression”. Macron saw the “stigma of barbarism” in the destroyed houses. And he, who has been criticized in recent months for his telephone diplomacy to understand Putin, took the opportunity to clarify. “Ukraine must win this war,” Macron told reporters. France also wants the territorial integrity of Ukraine to be fully restored, including the Donbass and the Crimean peninsula annexed by the Russians, its officials added.
According to official statements at least, Ukrainian fears that EU bigs would come to Kyiv to urge President Zelensky to sign an unfavorable peace deal and cede territory have proven unfounded.
During the round table at the presidential palace, which lasted several hours, in the company of Zelenski and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, who had come on his own initiative, things got down to business. Two questions were on the table. First, what additional heavy weapons will the Europeans provide? And second, what about kyiv’s membership application, which EU Heads of State and Government will vote on next week.
Scholz had consistently turned down a visit to Kyiv over the past few weeks, saying he didn’t just want to come for the “photo opportunity”. Expectations that he had something tangible in his luggage were therefore high. When will Germany send the promised Gepard anti-aircraft tanks and Marder infantry fighting vehicles? And what about the Leopard 88 tanks that are at the Rheinmetall arms factory? Does Scholz announce new arms deliveries?
Not a big arms package, but an important political victory for Zelensky
At the press conference later in the afternoon, the Chancellor didn’t really want to get the language out. He only pointed out that at this time Ukrainian soldiers are being trained in Germany on the modern Panzerhaubitze 2000 and repeated such previous engagements as the delivery of the IRIS-T air defense system. Macron was the only one to announce the delivery of six additional Caesar artillery pieces for the coming week.
On the other hand, Selenski managed to achieve great success on the issue of EU membership. You came here to make a “clear gesture”, Macron said. “Germany stands for a positive decision in favor of Ukraine,” Scholz said. This means that the three main heads of state and government of the EU, Scholz, Macron and Draghi, will fight at the EU summit next week to ensure that Ukraine is granted candidate status immediately. EU. The Republic of Moldova should also become a candidate for membership. In any case, Macron did not mention on this occasion his idea of a new “geopolitical community” in Europe as an alternative to EU membership.
Medvedev mocks Scholz as a ‘liver sausage fan’ and Macron as a frog eater
The clear positioning of the founding members of the EU, Germany, France and Italy, will be decisive in convincing current opponents such as the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden or Portugal. Ultimately, the 27 EU countries need a unanimous decision. Selensky thanked for his support: “Today the Ukrainians are on the front line in the fight against Russian attacks. But they are not alone. This is confirmed by the visit today to Kyiv of Emmanuel Macron, d ‘Olaf Scholz, Mario Draghi and Klaus Iohannis.
European lovers of frogs, liver sausages and spaghetti love to visit kyiv. With zero use. Promised EU membership and old howitzers to Ukraine, rushed to the gorilka and returned home by train, like 100 years ago. All is well. Yet this will not bring Ukraine closer to peace. The clock is turning
— Dmitry Medvedev (@MedvedevRussiaE) June 16, 2022
Events in Kyiv were also watched with eagle eyes in the Kremlin. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, warned against the intensification of arms deliveries. These are “absolutely unnecessary” and “would simply cause further damage” to Ukraine. Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian president and longtime close friend of Putin, commented on the visit in his own way. He poked fun at Scholz, Macron and Draghi calling them “fans of frogs, liver sausages and spaghetti”. A promise from the EU and a few old howitzers would not change anything and bring Ukraine closer to peace. “Time is running out,” said the Putin loyalist.