Ukranian President, Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday, June 16 welcomed German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis to Kyiv as the EU leaders show solidarity towards the besieged nation.
Scholz, Macron and Mario Draghi arrived in Kyiv on Thursday morning after taking a night train from Poland and were joined later in the day by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.
The meeting with Zelensky carries heavy symbolic weight given that Western European powers have faced criticism for not providing Ukraine with the scale of weaponry that Kyiv has been asking for.
The EU leaders inspected war damage on a visit to the town of Irpin, which Russian troops occupied at the war’s start.
Macron denounced the “barbarism” of the attacks that devastated the town, and praised the courage of residents of Irpin and other Kyiv region towns who held back Russians forces from attacking the capital.
“It’s here, among other places, that the Ukrainians stopped the Russian army descending onto Kyiv,” the French leader said. “It represents the heroism of the army, but also of the Ukrainian population. And alongside that, you have traces of barbarism.”
In response to a question on his previous remarks that Russia must not be humiliated, Macron said “France has been alongside Ukraine since day one.”
“We stand with the Ukrainians without ambiguity. Ukraine must resist and win,” he said.
“Look at that, ‘Make Europe, not war,’” Macron said when he spotted some graffiti in English. “It’s very moving to see that.”
Russia has reacted to the unexpected visit of the leaders to Kyiv, with Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov saying he hoped it would not focus solely on supplying Ukraine with weapons as that would cause further damage to the country.