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Zelensky meets German leaders, calls on Berlin to support Ukraine's bid for fighter jets

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 14, 2023 4:12 PM 2 min read
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President Volodymyr Zelensky on May 14 made his first visit to Berlin during Russia's full-scale invasion and met German leaders, urging Germany to support Ukraine's long-standing bid to receive Western fighter jets.

Speaking at a news conference, Zelensky announced that Ukraine is working to create a fighter jet coalition, and he is counting on Germany's support on the matter.

"We are now working on the creation of a fighter jet coalition, and my visits to European capitals are partially aimed precisely at this," Zelensky, who visited Rome a day earlier, said.

Earlier, a tank coalition was formed for countries that were ready to send Leopard 2 tanks right after Germany authorized their tank transfer in January. Now, after the long-sought Western tanks are finally starting to arrive in Ukraine, Zelensky said that Ukraine is seeking to become more "powerful" in the airspace as well.

Zelensky's meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier comes a day after Berlin pledged a new $3 billion military package.

The package includes 20 more Marder infantry fighting vehicles, 30 Leopard tanks, four IRIS-T SLM air defense systems, 100 armored vehicles, and 200 reconnaissance drones, according to Zelensky's Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak.

Calling Germany's package "the largest since the beginning of the full-scale aggression," Zelensky thanked Berlin for the support and reiterated that he believes the anticipated counteroffensive would be a success, adding that "support is on our side."

Zelensky also emphasized that any peace plan should be based on Ukrainian proposals because "the war is taking place on the territory of our state."

Zelensky also dismissed the Washington Post article claiming that he may have been planning attacks inside Russia to occupy some lands in order to gain leverage over Moscow.

"We are not attacking Russian territory, we are liberating our sovereign land," Zelensky said. "We are not interested in this (attacks on the territory of Russia), we do not have time for this, we do not have the strength for this, and we do not have weapons for this."

Meanwhile, Scholz vowed that Germany "won't stop" supporting Ukraine to defend its own territory.

Since the beginning of the full-scale war, Germany has provided Ukraine with roughly 17 billion euros of support, according to Scholz.

Editorial: Arming Ukraine won’t escalate war. Reluctance to do so will
First it was the tanks, now it’s the fighter jets. As Ukraine braces for another possible major Russian offensive in the upcoming weeks, Western leaders are yet again coming up with a variety of excuses why this time, they cannot justify supplying F-16 and F-35 fighter jets to Ukraine.

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