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Politico: Zelensky to visit France, Italy, urge NATO to down Russian missiles over Ukraine

by Kateryna Denisova May 23, 2024 9:10 AM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky. (Presidential Office)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky is planning to visit the D-Day commemoration in France and a G7 meeting in Italy in June to ask partners for more military aid, Politico reported on May 22, citing two undisclosed sources.

Due to the difficult situation at the front lines, Zelensky canceled on May 15 all of his international events scheduled for the coming days. He reportedly planned to travel to Portugal and Spain at the time.

Zelensky's schedule for trips to France and Italy may still change, according to Politico's sources.

If the president visits France, he is expected to urge partners to send Kyiv more military support and to shoot down Russian missiles over Ukraine, as the U.S. and the U.K. did during Iran's attack on Israel in April.

"I personally sent a signal to the Polish side, the U.S., and other countries that we are ready to sign all the papers. If they shoot down Russian missiles over our country, they will not be held responsible if it falls and something blows up... But everyone is afraid of 'escalation,'" Zelensky said in an interview with Reuters published on May 21.

Politico describes Zelensky's presence at the 80th anniversary of the Normandy landings as one that will have "immense symbolic resonance." In addition to U.S. President Joe Biden and other Western leaders, a Russian representative is expected to attend the event.

During his visit to Italy, Zelensky will call on Western partners to seize Russian assets to help fund Ukraine's defense and reconstruction, Politico wrote.

Ukraine's Western allies and other partners froze around $300 billion in Russian assets at the start of the full-scale invasion in 2022.

The EU Council agreed to use profits from the frozen Russian sovereign assets to aid Ukraine on May 21, which would provide Ukraine with between 2.5 billion and 3 billion euros ($2.7-3.26 billion) annually, with most of it allocated to Kyiv's military needs.

Zelensky: ‘Our partners fear that Russia will lose this war’
President Volodymyr Zelensky believes that Ukraine’s partners “are afraid of Russia losing the war” and would like Kyiv “to win in such a way that Russia does not lose,” Zelensky said in a meeting with journalists attended by the Kyiv Independent.
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