German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier held telephone conversations with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky and discussed his possible visit to Kyiv with him, Die Welt TV channel reports, citing the press secretary of the German leader.
“Steinmeier assured Zelensky of further support and congratulated him on [Ukraine's receiving] the status of a candidate member of the EU”, — the channel said.
Zelensky confirmed the fact of the conversation on Twitter and thanked Steinmeier for his support, including in obtaining Ukraine's candidate status. He also added that he had discussed “increased defense support” with a German colleague.
Steinmeier was going to come to Ukraine last April together with the presidents of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The visit was supposed to demonstrate “pan-European solidarity”; with Ukraine. However, in the end, the German politician did not visit Kyiv. The President explained the refusal of the trip by the fact that the Ukrainian authorities “did not want” this visit, the ion “was not ready”; to a similar reaction.
Sources in the German newspaper Bild claimed that Kyiv refused to receive Steinmeier because of “close ties”; with Russia in recent years and the support it has expressed for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz then said that the decision of the Ukrainian authorities “causes irritation”, and stressed that it would be more correct for Kyiv to accept the President of Germany. On May 4, he gave an interview to ZDF and said that he could not come to Kyiv until Steinmeier was there. “The fact that the President of the Federal Republic was refused to be invited is a problem. And it's on the agenda. <…> You can't say: the president can't come,»,— Scholz said. At the same time, he drew attention to the fact that Berlin provides Ukraine with financial and military assistance and can guarantee security.
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