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Zelensky attends Milei's inauguration, meets with Latin American leaders in Argentina

by Daria Shulzhenko December 10, 2023 5:56 PM 3 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky leaves the Congress after the inauguration ceremony of Argentina's President-elect Javier Milei, in Buenos Aires on Dec. 10, 2023.(Photo by Alejandro PAGNI / AFP via Getty Images)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Argentina on Dec. 10 to attend the inauguration of the country's president-elect, Javier Milei.

The trip was Zelensky's first official visit to Latin America during his presidency, including the time before Russia's full-scale invasion.

In a video posted by the president's Telegram channel, Zelensky is seen greeting Milei with a friendly embrace at the inauguration ceremony in Buenos Aires.

"This is a new beginning for Argentina," the post read, "and I wish President Milei and all the Argentine people to surprise the world with their success."

Before the ceremony, Zelensky held consecutive bilateral meetings with the leaders of Paraguay, Uruguay, and Ecuador.

Zelensky reported that he and Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa discussed the possibilities of developing bilateral cooperation in the security sphere, digitization, and trade of agricultural products.

"I proposed joining the implementation of the Ukrainian formula for peace to Noboa" he wrote.

Zelensky also discussed the possibility of holding a "summit between Ukraine and Latin America" with Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou, as well as talked about "ways to develop trade between Ukraine and Paraguay" with Paraguyan President Santiago Pena.

"For us, the support and powerful united voice of the Latin American countries, which stand by the Ukrainian people in the war for our freedom and democracy, is very important," Zelensky wrote.

Despite his reputation for eccentric, far-right political views and a personal character that has drawn comparisons to former U.S. president Donald Trump, Milei has expressed his firm support for Ukrainian sovereignty in the face of Russian aggression.

Having already arrived in Argentina, Zelensky held a phone call with French President Emmanuel Macron earlier in the day, informing him about the developments on the front line and thanking him for the support provided by France.

"We discussed our priority needs and the upcoming French defense package, which will significantly enhance Ukraine's firepower," Zelensky wrote on Telegram.

"I thanked (Macron) for the preparation to host Ukrainian pilots for the second stage of the training program on F-16 aircraft."

On Dec. 9, while he was en route to Argentina, Zelensky held his first-ever meeting with Cape Verdean Prime Minister José Ulisses Correia e Silva.

Zelensky thanked Silva for his support of Ukraine’s sovereignty, particularly for backing the UN’s resolution on March 2, 2022, on the support for Ukraine's territorial integrity and calling for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.

"It is the voice of democracy that helps us, endorsing resolutions that are crucial," Zelensky said.

While Ukraine has not seen widespread support from most African nations, Silva and Zelensky discussed intensifying engagement and cooperation with the continent including via international forums. Both leaders agreed to be in contact again in the near future.

Far-right politician, Ukraine supporter Javier Milei elected president of Argentina
The far-right libertarian MP Javier Milei won Argentina’s presidential election on Nov. 19 after a campaign in which he said he would seek to reduce ties to Russia and China, among other policy views that represented a break from the outgoing President Alberto Fernandez.
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