As Ukraine approached four months of fighting back Russia’s latest invasion, leaders in Europe and the United States continued pledging military support. The European support Thursday came in the form of a visit to Ukraine from the leaders of four European countries:
- French President Emmanuel Macron;
- Italian Premier Mario Draghi;
- German Chancellor Olaf Scholz; and
- Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.
“It is a terrible war, and Russia is pushing it forward with the utmost brutality without regard for human life and that is what must come to an end — with all the activities that we are doing, with all the aid that has been mobilized, but also with the sanctions,” Chancellor Scholz said. “All of this together should help to ensure that international solidarity gives Ukrainian citizens the opportunity to rebuild their country.”
The four leaders met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv, where President Macron promised Ukraine six more powerful truck-mounted artillery guns. The leaders also visited Irpin, a Kyiv suburb that saw intense fighting early in the war and where many civilians were killed.
“They destroyed the nurseries, the playgrounds and everything will be rebuilt. They’ve already started,” Premier Draghi said. “They have a digital system so that every place that was destroyed will be put back. They know exactly where the sites are that need to be rebuilt.”
The European leaders’ visit came just a day after the Biden administration announced and additional $1 billion in military support to Ukraine. The latest package, which represents the largest single tranche of weapons and equipment since the invasion began, includes: anti-ship missile launchers, howitzers and more rounds for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems U.S. forces are training Ukrainian troops on.
“This is the 12th time that President Biden has authorized presidential drawdowns to help Ukraine defend its democracy,” National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said Wednesday. “That brings the total amount of security assistance that we provided to Ukraine to approximately $5.6 billion just since Russia launched its assault in late February and then approximately 6.3 billion since the beginning of the Biden-Harris administration.”