Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky invited his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Kiev, the German presidency announced on Thursday.
The invitation comes three weeks after Zelensky refused to receive Steinmeier in Kiev, due to the ties he had with Russia when he was foreign minister in the governments of social democrat Gerhard Schroeder and conservative Angela Merkel.
The announcement of the invitation was made after a telephone conversation that Steinmeier had this Thursday with Zelensky, which allowed him to overcome “irritations of the past”, according to the German presidency.
“Both presidents described the conversation as ‘very important and very good’. Past irritations were cleared up. Both presidents agreed to remain in close contact,” the presidency said in a statement.
During the 45-minute conversation, Steinmeier “expressed his solidarity, respect and support for the courageous struggle of the Ukrainian people against Russian aggressors.”
“Germany has supported Ukraine financially, economically and militarily in its defense struggle from the beginning and is united in solidarity with Ukraine,” the presidency added.
No date has been given for the visit. Scholz has been criticized in Germany for not having been to Kiev since the Russian invasion on Feb. 24.
On Wednesday, he reiterated that he still had no plans to do so, considering that Zelensky’s rejection of Steinmeier was a problem.
“For the German government and people, it is a problem”, said the head of the German government, arguing that it would be up to Kiev to contribute to unblocking the situation through a dialogue with Steinmeier.
“He is the highest representative of our country, elected by a large majority,” recalled Social Democrat Scholz, who admitted to being irritated at the very least.
Steinmeier was supposed to go to Ukraine on April 13, along with the presidents of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, but he canceled the visit because “he was not wanted in Kiev”, as he explained.
Days before the incident with Zelensky, Steinmeier had admitted mistakes in policy towards Russia when he headed Germany’s diplomacy.
Scholz has also been criticized for his reluctance to deliver heavy weapons to the country as Russian attacks have increased, especially in eastern Ukraine.
Germany finally decided last week to supply Kiev with “Guepard” tanks. The government that Scholz formed in coalition with the Greens and Liberals also suspended the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which was supposed to transport Russian gas to Germany, as part of sanctions against Russia.
The war in Ukraine entered its 71st day this Thursday, and remains without a provisional balance of civilian and military casualties, but which several sources, such as the UN, admit is considerably high.
The UN confirmed the death of more than 3,000 civilians and the flight of more than 5.5 million people from Ukraine to other countries.
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