German, French and Italian leaders have expressed support in Kiev

KYIV, June 16 (Reuters) – A series of airstrikes sounded in Kiev after French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholes and Italian Prime Minister Mario Troki made a joint trip to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s invasion.

The trio arrived in the Ukrainian capital early Thursday morning after traveling together overnight on a train used to transport top-level visitors to Ukraine.

“This is an important moment. We know that the message of unity we send to the Ukrainians will be very difficult in the coming weeks to talk about the present and the future,” Macron said. They came.

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Macron, who has previously been criticized at home and abroad for not traveling to Ukraine, has repeatedly said he would only go if the visit was “useful”.

It remains to be seen what concrete action he will announce.

Romania’s President Glass Iohanis is expected to join the trio in talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky, who is expected to touch on Kiev’s attempt and war to join the EU.

It took weeks to arrange the visit with three people who are aiming to deal with criticism that has arisen over their response to the war in Ukraine.

“We are here, we are focused, we will go with President Zhelensky to the battlefield where the assassinations took place,” Macron said.

According to BFM TV, the leaders went to Irfin, where Ukraine claims that Russia committed large-scale atrocities. Russia has denied the allegations.

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Asked why the visit is taking place now, an Eysee official said they think it would be best to do so before discussing Kyiv’s attempt to join the 27-nation bloc before the EU summit next week.

The EU executive committee is expected to propose on Friday that Ukraine become a formal candidate for the post of member of the committee, diplomats and officials say.

This would be a significant political gesture to the country opposing Russia’s invasion, but EU leaders are highly divided.

“At the most opportune moment, a balance must be found between Ukraine’s natural aspirations to join the EU and all countries already in candidate status and embroiled in negotiations. EU or break it,” the Elysee official said.

Zhelensky is expected to inspire his troops to send more weapons to help his tough army withstand the Russian invaders.

Kiev accused France, Germany and, to a lesser extent, Italy of acting in support of Ukraine, delaying the supply of arms and putting their own prosperity ahead of Ukraine’s independence and security.

A senior EU official said Zelenskiy was “in a very difficult position: not only is the Ukrainian army in need of weapons, but the shortage of troops is growing.”

Oleksiy Arestovych, Zelenskiy’s adviser, told the German newspaper Bild this week that he was concerned that the three leaders would press Kyiv to accept a peace deal favorable to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Addressing the concerns, Tragi said on Tuesday that it was important for peace talks to begin soon, but that they should be “in accordance with the rules that Ukraine considers acceptable.”

Ukraine has been particularly critical of Germany’s military assistance, and Andrij Melnyk, the country’s ambassador to Berlin, told NTV, a German broadcaster, that he expects Scholz to hand over long – promised but not yet delivered heavy weapons.

Scholes said Germany was one of Ukraine’s largest military and financial backers, and that it would take time to train Ukrainian troops to use the sophisticated artillery systems it provided, dismissing allegations that it had withheld much-needed military support.

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Additional report by Sarah Marsh and Andreas Rinke in Berlin, John Irish, Michael Rose and Benoit von Overstretten in Paris; Written by Christian Palmer and Ingrid Melander; Editing by Toby Chopra, Mark Potter and Angus Maxwan

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