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Macron, Scholz and Draghi meet Zelenskyy in Kyiv during historic visit – POLITICO

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi arrived in Kyiv Thursday morning, visiting the Ukrainian capital for the primary time for the reason that starting of Russia’s invasion in a historic joint journey.

The three leaders took an evening prepare to Kyiv, the place they had been greeted with air raid sirens amid Russia’s ongoing invasion. They crossed into Ukraine from the Polish border, La Repubblica reported early Thursday, though their exact journey plans had been unknown, since Paris, Berlin and Rome didn’t give official particulars on the extremely anticipated journey.

“We’re here, focused, and we’re about to meet President Zelenskyy now to visit a war site where massacres have been committed, and then to lead the conversations that are scheduled with President Zelenskyy,” Macron mentioned in feedback to reporters on the prepare station in Kyiv.

The visit is “a message of European unity toward Ukrainians, and of support, [a message] about the present and the future because we know the weeks to come are going to be very difficult,” the French president added.

The European leaders visited Irpin, the suburb northwest of Kyiv the place Russian invaders destroyed buildings and allegedly tortured and killed civilians during weeks of occupation earlier than Ukrainian forces pushed them out.

They mentioned the reconstruction of the city with Oleksiy Chernyshov, the Ukrainian minister for territorial growth. Stopping in entrance of a constructing lined in graffiti which learn “Make Europe not war,” Macron mentioned “it’s very moving to see that.” “We will rebuild everything,” Draghi added, talking to the press during the visit.

In Irpin, Macron additionally mentioned that: “It’s both a heroic town because it is here that, amongst other places, the Ukrainians stopped the Russian army that was descending on Kyiv, so you have to imagine the heroism of the army but also of the Ukrainian people.”

Scholz added that Irpin is an instance of “the brutality of the Russian war of aggression, which is simply out to destroy and conquer” and of an ongoing invasion being continued “without regard for human life.”

A French diplomatic official advised reporters that when Russia’s battle is over, “a dialogue” between Moscow and Kyiv “will be needed to find out how we build a sustainable peace,” with safety ensures for Ukraine, and the character of the connection between Ukraine and NATO.

The official added: “Zelenskyy must define what would be a military victory for him … We are in favor of a complete victory with the re-establishment of [Ukrainian] territorial integrity over all the territories that have been conquered by the Russians including Crimea.”

The joint visit from the leaders of the three largest EU economies carries essential symbolic weight, particularly forward of a gathering of EU leaders subsequent week, when they’re set to determine whether or not to grant Ukraine candidate standing to hitch the bloc. What Macron, Scholz and Draghi will say on the matter remains to be unclear.

During a visit on Wednesday to Moldova, which can also be searching for EU candidate standing, Macron kept the door open on each Kyiv and Chișinău’s prospects. “I want us to send a clear and positive signal, but we have to build unanimity among EU members. I don’t think we can dissociate Moldova from Ukraine in the prospects that we give,” he mentioned.

“There’s no consensus for candidate status and there’s no consensus for no candidate status. But there seems to be consensus for a third way — candidate status with conditions,” a diplomat acquainted with the subject advised Brussels Playbook.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis joined the three leaders in Kyiv, taking one other route on Thursday morning.

This article was up to date.

Chris Miller reported from Kyiv.

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