Zelensky is greeted by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on first visit to the country since the Russia invasion after Berlin announced £2.3billion package of military aid for Ukraine
- The military aid package includes tanks, anti-aircraft systems and ammunition
- READ MORE: Russia ‘loses two warplanes’ on Putin’s side of the Ukraine border
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier greeted Volodymyr Zelensky to Berlin on his first visit to the country since Russia invaded Ukraine.
The night before Zelensky’s visit, the German government announced a new package of military aid for Ukraine worth more than 2.7billion euros (£2.3billion).
The package, which includes tanks, anti-aircraft systems and ammunition, comes as Zelensky seeks further arms deliveries to help his country fend off the Russian invasion.
The Ukrainian president is also looking for funds to rebuild what has been destroyed by more than a year of devastating conflict.
A Luftwaffe jet flew Zelensky to the German capital from Rome, where he had met on Saturday with Pope Francis and Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier greeted Volodymyr Zelensky to Berlin on his first visit to the country since Russia invaded Ukraine
The night before Mr Zelensky’s visit, the German government announced a new package of military aid for Ukraine worth more than 2.7 billion euros (£2.3 billion)
‘Already in Berlin. Weapons. Powerful package. Air defense. Reconstruction. EU. NATO. Security,’ Zelensky tweeted on Sunday, in an apparent reference to the key priorities of his trip.
After initially hesitating to provide Ukraine with lethal weapons, Germany has since become one of the biggest suppliers of arms to the country.
Weapons sent have included Leopard 1 and 2 battle tanks, and the sophisticated IRIS-T SLM air-defence system.
Modern Western hardware is considered crucial if Ukraine is to succeed in its planned counteroffensive against Russian troops.
Zelensky first met with Steinmeier, Germany’s head of state, apparently over his previous close ties to Russia, causing a chill in diplomatic relations between Ukraine and Germany.
READ MORE: Vladimir Putin attacks Ternopil just as the city’s most famous residents Tvorchi perform at Eurovision song contest in Liverpool
Since then, both Steinmeier and Chancellor Olaf Scholz have visited Ukraine, assuring Zelensky of their support for his country’s fight against the Russian invasion.
Announcing the new arms package, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said Berlin would help Ukraine for ‘as long as it takes’.
After meeting Scholz and other senior officials at the chancellery, the two leaders are expected to fly to the western city of Aachen for Zelensky to receive the International Charlemagne Prize awarded to him and the people of Ukraine.
Organisers say the award recognises that their resistance against Russia’s invasion is a defence ‘not just of the sovereignty of their country and the life of its citizens, but also of Europe and European values’.
While German leaders have expressed strong backing for Ukraine, German voters are divided on whether the country should provide further weapons, particularly advanced fighter jets of the kind Kyiv is asking its allies for.
The meeting comes after Vladimir Putin launched an attack on Ternopil in Ukraine just before the city’s most famous residents Tvorchi performed at the Eurovision song contest.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier greets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a welcome ceremony at the Bellevue Palace on May 14
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (R) and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky shake hands before Zelensky signs the guest book during his visit on May 14
Warehouses were targeted by Russian missile strikes and two people were injured, Ternopil Oblast Governor Volodymyr Trush confirmed.
It is reported that the warehouses that were hit and caught fire belonged to commercial enterprises and a religious organisation.
Ten minutes before performing inside the Liverpool Arena, Tvorchi posted on Instagram citing reports of Ternopil in western Ukraine being attacked.
Tvorchi were also seen holding up a sign showing the name of their hometown while participating in the contest.
After performing ‘Heart of Steel’ – a song about troops who fought against Russian forces at the Azovstal plant in Mariupol – Tvorchi posted again saying: ‘Ternopil is the name of our hometown, which was bombed by Russia while we sang on the Eurovision stage about our steel hearts, indomitability and will.
‘This is a message for all cities of Ukraine that are shelled every day. Kharkiv, Dnipro, Khmelnytskyi, Kyiv, Zaporizhzhia, Uman, Sumy, Poltava, Vinnytsia, Odesa, Mykolaiv, Chernihiv, Kherson and all others.
‘Europe, unite against evil for the sake of peace!’
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