While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky meets with Western leaders during a tour of Europe, Germany announced a new €2.7 billion ($2.95 billion) arms package for Kyiv over the weekend.
After arriving in Italy on Saturday, Zelensky took to Twitter to express his enthusiasm posting, “An important visit for approaching victory of Ukraine!” Zelensky met with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and thanked her for “helping to save lives,” before meeting with Pop Francis in the Vatican where he reportedly lobbied the Pope to support Kyiv’s peace plan.
On Sunday, Zelensky traveled to Germany to meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz the day after the defense package was unveiled.
During the meeting, Zelensky reportedly pressured the Chancellor to give Kyiv fighter jets – a request that he has made to all Western leaders with no success thus far.
Zelensky was received upon his arrival in Berlin by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at Bellevue Palace before meeting with Olaf Scholz at the chancellery.
The Ukrainian president’s visit to Germany is his first since Russia invaded Ukraine last year and his meetings with German leaders come after months of rocky relations between the two countries. On Sunday, Zelensky posted to Twitter regarding the meetings, “German air defense systems, artillery, tanks, and infantry fighting vehicles are saving Ukrainian lives and bringing us closer to victory. Germany is a reliable ally!”
While Germany has long been reluctant to get heavily involved in the war, fearing an escalation with Russia, German leaders have begun providing more assistance since the government agreed to send its Leopard II tanks to Ukraine at the beginning of the year.
Meanwhile, Zelensky attempted to calm German nerves on Sunday when he said, “We are not attacking Russian territory.”
“We are preparing a counterattack to de-occupy the illegitimately conquered territories,” Zelensky added.
However, several Ukrainian drone strikes on Russian oil facilities in recent weeks suggest that Ukraine is taking a different approach and is in fact targeting Russian territory, according to Zerohedge.
The recently leaked Pentagon documents have also revealed that Zelensky has previously approved attacks inside Russian territory.
Several Russian planes were downed in a border region near Ukraine on Saturday, which has suggested to observers that the aircraft may have been taken down in a cross-border shoot-down, which would show a drastic advancement in Ukraine’s capabilities.