West News Wire: While meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday, four European leaders expressed their support for Ukraine, promising to back Kyiv’s candidacy for eventual membership in the European Union and offering more weapons to fend off Russia’s invasion.
At a press conference with Zelenskyy and others, Macron said that France, Germany, Italy, and Romania are “doing everything” to allow Ukraine to decide its own fate.
“My colleagues and I arrived in Kyiv today with a clear message: Ukraine is a member of the European family,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said.
Amid Ukrainian fears that Western resolve could wane, the visit carried heavy symbolism. France, Germany and Italy have all faced criticism for continuing to engage with Russian President Vladimir Putin and failing to give Kyiv the amount of weaponry it says its needs.
With Scholz beside him, Macron defended earlier comments that riled Ukrainians about not humiliating Russia. He solemnly noted how the end of World War I had sown the seeds of World War II.
“We are side by side today with Chancellor Scholz. One hundred years ago, we were at war and allies helped France win. France committed a historic mistake. It lost the peace because it wanted to humiliate Germany. The question of humiliation I always placed in a context to come, not the current context,” he said.
“Today, this war must be won, France clearly supports Ukraine so it prevails,” Macron said. “Germany, like France, will never be in situations where they negotiate on Ukraine’s behalf with Russia. Moreover, we have never done that.”
Ukrainians and some of their central European neighbors also have been afraid that Western powers might press for territorial concessions for the sake of peace with Russia.
Scholz reiterated that there is no such intent to dictate anything to Ukrainians, and that only they “can decide what is right in terms of an agreement on a peace which we are unfortunately very, very far away from.”
Italian Premier Mario Draghi expressed concern about the millions of tons of grain backed up in Black Sea ports by the war, saying it could lead to a “worldwide catastrophe.” Italy has been a first destination for African migrants and could find itself overwhelmed in the case of largescale hunger in the Southern Hemisphere.
The U.S. and its European allies have given billions of dollars in weaponry to Ukraine, and Germany and the U.S. recently announced new arms shipments. Such arms have been crucial in preventing the Russians from taking the capital, but Kyiv has said much more will be needed.