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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Ukraine’s Zelenskiy seeks wartime aid in Berlin, Paris

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is scheduled to visit Germany and France on Friday to garner crucial military assistance and finalize bilateral security commitments as the conflict with Russia approaches its third year. Amidst Kyiv’s efforts to fend off Russian forces closing in on the eastern town of Avdiivka, Ukraine grapples with a shortage of manpower and delayed U.S. military aid.

This marks Zelenskiy’s inaugural foreign trip following the replacement of his popular army chief and a significant reshuffling of military command, a strategic move amidst evolving challenges on the battlefield. Germany and France are poised to become Ukraine’s second and third allies to sign bilateral security deals, outlining terms for sustained support until Ukraine achieves its NATO membership goal.

While the specifics of the agreements with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz remain undisclosed, Kyiv aims to use the framework established in the January deal with Britain as a basis. The London agreement formalized diverse support for Ukraine’s security and committed to prompt consultations in the face of a potential Russian armed attack, along with swift and sustained security assistance.

Also Read: Ukraine Alleges Russian Military Utilizing Musk’s Starlink in Occupied Regions

Details about the French-Ukrainian agreement are limited, but officials emphasize its inclusion of economic and financial elements beyond military aspects. The overarching objective is to provide enduring support to Ukraine, thwarting Russian aggression. France, while acknowledging certain figures in the deal, emphasizes the importance of material quality over quantity, steering clear of a “beauty contest.”

Germany, advocating for more robust commitments from European and U.S. partners regarding military supplies for Ukraine, anticipates allocating 3.5 billion euros for ammunition supplies this year. German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius outlines plans for a substantial increase in deliveries in 2024 compared to 2023.

In addition to the diplomatic engagements in Germany and France, Zelenskiy is expected to address the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. Numerous bilateral meetings are scheduled on the sidelines, including discussions with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris.

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