The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Prime Minister of Italy, Mario Draghi, have arrived in Kyiv in a joint show of support for Ukraine as it faces down Russia’s full-scale military operation.
Macron added after a special overnight train provided by Ukrainian authorities carried the trio into a station in the capital, Kyiv, early on Thursday morning, “It is an important moment. It is a message of unity we are sending to the Ukrainians.”
They were set to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy later in the day. The European leaders’ visit has taken weeks to organise, while all three have faced criticism from Kyiv over support viewed as tepid.
It comes as Ukraine pleads with its Western allies to supply it with additional heavy weaponry as it seeks to fend off Russian advances in the country’s south and east, nearly four months into the war.
Moscow is now steadily gaining ground on the outmanned and outgunned Ukrainian forces, but Major-General Dmytro Marchenko, who leads Ukraine’s forces in the southern city of Mykolaiv, said his troops could achieve victory over Russia if they were given the right weapons.
Kyiv has criticised France, Germany and, to a lesser extent, Italy, for alleged foot-dragging in their support against Russia, accusing them of being slow to deliver weapons and of putting their own prosperity ahead of Ukraine’s freedom and security.