On Thursday, four European leaders visited Ukraine and denounced the Russian invasion. This was a high-profile gesture of support in the face of fears by Kyiv that the West’s resolve to aid the beleaguered country may wane.
This visit, which included a meeting at President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s residence, has a significant symbolic weight. Leaders of France, Germany, and Italy have been criticized for not engaging with Russian President Vladimir Putin and failing to supply Ukraine with the weaponry it claims is necessary to defeat the Russians. The trip was also made by the Romanian president.
The leaders arrived in Kyiv to hear the sirens of air raid sirens. They then headed for Irpin. This suburb is close to the capital and was the site of intense fighting in the early stages of the war, where many civilians were killed. They decried the destruction.
Although shocking photos of such destruction have attracted Western support, officials from Ukraine expressed concern that “war fatigue” could eventually diminish that — especially as rising prices and the upcoming election in the United States have become increasingly important concerns.
Many people in Ukraine believed that the visit of the leaders could be a turning point, opening the door to substantial new arms supplies. This was especially true after the officials saw the devastation caused by the conflict. This visit comes as EU leaders prepare for a decision next Wednesday on Ukraine’s request for membership. It also precedes an important NATO summit later this month.
Before meeting with Zelenskyy the leader German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated that officials should keep the terrible scenes destruction in their minds in all decisions.
Scholz stated that innocent civilians were being attacked, houses destroyed and a whole town was destroyed without any military infrastructure. “That speaks volumes about the Russian war on aggression, which is purely out to destroy and conquer. This must be reflected in all decisions.
During the Irpin tour, Mario Draghi, Italian Premier, stated that Ukraine’s backers would rebuild “everything” using European aid.
Draghi stated that they had destroyed the playgrounds and nurseries. Everything will be rebuilt.
Draghi, Scholz, and Macron represent the three largest economies of the European Union. They traveled together to Kyiv on an overnight train that was provided by the Ukrainian authorities. They were criticized for not having visited Kyiv earlier. Many other European leaders have made the long journey overland to show solidarity to a nation under attack. This was even when fighting was closer to the capital.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis arrived by separate train. Romania, which borders Ukraine, has been a major destination for Ukrainian refugees.
He posted on Twitter after watching Irpin that there were “no words” to describe the “unimaginable human tragedy, and terrible destruction.” He also called for all Russian perpetrators to face international criminal justice.
Russian forces are pushing their offensive in eastern Donbas, slowly but steadily gaining ground against the poorly outmanned and outgunned Ukrainian force, who plead for more arms from Western allies.
While European leaders were at their hotel, preparing for their next visit, several air raid sirens rang out. Kyiv authorities advised people to seek refuge. These alerts are common.