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Leaders from Germany, France, and Italy arrive in Kyiv with a "message of solidarity."

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English - On Thursday, the leaders of Germany, France, and Italy arrived in Kyiv on an overnight train in a show of...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English - On Thursday, the leaders of Germany, France, and Italy arrived in Kyiv on an overnight train in a show of solidarity with Ukraine, where authorities were begging for more and faster supply of Western armaments to fend off Russia's invasion.

"It's a critical juncture. We're sending a message of solidarity to the Ukrainians "After the train arrived at Kyiv's station, French President Emmanuel Macron stated.

The trip by Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi took weeks to plan, and all three have been chastised by Kyiv for their lukewarm support. Boris Johnson, the British Foreign Secretary, visited more than two months ago.

Nonetheless, the decision by the three most powerful EU leaders to travel together was symbolic at a crucial time - a day before the EU's executive commission is expected to recommend that Ukraine's accession to the bloc be pushed forward, which EU leaders are expected to endorse at a summit next week.

On Thursday, NATO defence ministers met in Brussels, where they were anticipated to make more assurances of additional weapons to Kyiv. On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden committed $1 billion in new supplies, including anti-ship missile systems, artillery rockets, and howitzer rounds.

On board the night train, the three European leaders were seen in informal attire at a table. Scholz later changed into a dark short-sleeved shirt and pants on the Kyiv platform, while Macron and Draghi changed into suits.

All three leaders claim to be staunch friends of Ukraine, and they have taken significant steps to lessen Europe's reliance on Russian energy and locate weaponry to aid Kyiv.

Ukraine, on the other hand, has long chastised Scholz for what it sees as Germany's delayed delivery of weaponry and unwillingness to cut ties with Moscow.

It was also enraged when Macron declared in an interview earlier this month that Russia must not be "humiliated." Italy has also presented a peace proposal, which Ukrainians worry may put them under pressure to relinquish up territory.

"They will say that we need to terminate the war that is generating food and economic problems...that we need to save Mr Putin's face," Oleksiy Arestovych, a Ukrainian presidential adviser, told the German tabloid Bild.


While the leaders were in Kyiv, their defence ministers were at NATO headquarters for the conclusion of a two-day summit. Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, said the alliance was "very focused" on bolstering support for Ukraine.

Three multiple rocket launchers pledged to Kyiv by Germany could be sent in July or August, once Ukrainians have been trained to handle them, according to Germany's defence minister.

To counter Russia's firepower advantage, Kyiv claims it urgently requires more weaponry, particularly artillery and rockets. As the battle in the east enters a severe attritional phase, Kyiv is losing hundreds of people every day.

Ukraine withstood an armoured assault on Kyiv in March after Moscow started a "special military operation" with the stated goal of disarming and "denazifying" its neighbour.

Since then, Russia's goals and tactics have altered, and it is now attempting to fortify land it controls in the east and south, as well as seize further territory through sluggish advances accompanied by enormous artillery bombardments.

In recent weeks, the major battleground has been the eastern city of Sievierodonetsk. Ukrainian military barricaded in a chemical facility with hundreds of civilians defied a Russian ultimatum to surrender on Wednesday.

All of the remaining bridges connecting the city to Ukrainian-controlled territory on the opposite bank of the Siverskyi Donets river have been demolished in recent days, but Ukrainian officials claim the garrison is not completely shut off.

In the larger, eastern Donbas region, Ukraine still retains a pocket of land that Russia has pledged to seize on behalf of its rebel proxies. The majority of the land is on the other side of the river, which Russian forces have struggled to cross.

In the south, Ukrainian forces have been making gradual progress into Kherson province, the largest swath of land Russia still controls from the areas it gained after the invasion.

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