Zelensky talks by phone with Germany’s Steinmeier following previous ‘misunderstandings’

5 May, 09:05 PM
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Photo:Lehtikuva/Markku Ulander/Reuters)

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (Photo:Lehtikuva/Markku Ulander/Reuters)

President Volodymyr Zelensky had a telephone conversation with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier on May 5, potentially resolving a diplomatic spat that soured Ukrainian-German relations.

News of the call was initially reported by Paul Ronzheimer, a journalist for the German tabloid Bild, on Twitter. Later, the Ukrainian leader confirmed in a tweet that he had indeed had a "good, constructive, important conversation" with Steinmeier.

According to Ronzheimer, the press secretary of the Ukrainian head of state said that "the parties agreed to leave the past behind and focus on future cooperation."

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Another German newspaper, Die Welt, citing sources in Steinmeier's office, reported that Zelensky invited the federal president, members of Germany’s government, and the German chancellor to Kyiv.

The head of the President's Office Andriy Yermak also confirmed that the phone conversation had occurred.

“Germany remains a strong ally of Ukraine,” Yermak wrote on Telegram.

“There will be an official announcement about the details, I can only say that the hope of the Russians for a split in the unity of Europe in support of Ukraine is in vain.”

The press service of the German president reported that during the conversation, Steinmeier expressed solidarity, respect, and support for the courageous struggle of the Ukrainian people against the Russian aggressor. Both presidents described the conversation as "very important and good." According to the press service, "misunderstandings from the past have been eliminated," and the two president agreed to keep in close contact.

Earlier, Politico, citing sources in Berlin, reported that the German president had not been in contact with the president of Ukraine for three weeks, after the media reported that he allegedly was not welcome in Kyiv, and the request for a telephone conversation "remained unanswered."

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that reports of Kyiv's "reluctance" to receive Steinmeier "impeded" his visit to Ukraine.

President Zelensky earlier stated that neither the German president nor his office had officially approached Kyiv about a visit to Ukraine. Deputy head of the President’s Office Andriy Sybiha called the information about Ukraine's unwillingness to accept President Steinmeier a "protocol misunderstanding."

This came after the German tabloid Bild reported on April 12, citing its own sources, that President Volodymyr Zelensky did not want to meet with Steinmeier in Kyiv because of the latter's close ties to Russia.

Later, Steinmeier said that he had been ready to come to Kyiv together with colleagues from Poland and the Baltic countries, but that "Kyiv objected to this."

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