16 June, 05:16 PM
French, German, Italian, and Romanian leaders meet with Zelensky, discuss EU membership prospects, grain blockade, Donbas battle
French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian PM Mario Draghi, and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis arrived in Ukrainian capital by train, as Russian cruise missile launches triggered country-wide air raid sirens.
The European leaders first visited Irpin, a Kyiv suburb that suffered heavily from several weeks of Russian occupation in March. What they saw there, Macron called “a brand of barbarity” on the Russian army, while Scholz described it as “a symbol of unimaginable cruelty and senseless violence.”
Afterwards, the visiting dignitaries met with Zelensky at Kyiv’s Mariinskyi Palace.
According to Zelensky’s Chief-of-Staff Andriy Yermak, the leadres discussed Ukraine’s application to join the EU, measures to enable exports of Ukrainian grain, and the battlefield situation in Donbas and southern Ukraine.
“Ukraine enjoys robust international support,” Yermak said in a Telegram post.
“We gave the (visiting) leaders a package of Russia sanctions prepared by our international (former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael) McFaul-Yermak working group.”
Yermak urged Ukraine’s partners to ramp up economic pressure on Russia and develop the seventh set of EU sanctions, which would put in place an embargo on Russian natural gas.
“Today, Europe stands with Ukraine; (We will be) victorious,” he concluded.