Ukraine’s Zelenskyy will sign security agreements with Germany, France as Kyiv shores up support


BERLIN (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to sign bilateral security agreements with Germany and France on Friday as Kyiv works to shore up Western support nearly two years after Russia launched its full-scale war.

The Ukrainian leader was welcomed by Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the German chancellery in Berlin and was set to continue to Paris to meet French President Emmanuel Macron.

The bilateral security and long-term support agreements follow a security agreement between Ukraine and the U.K. signed when British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visited Kyiv last month. That accord covers the next 10 years.

Zelenskyy will continue Saturday to the Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of high-ranking security and foreign policy officials, where he plans meetings with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris among others.

The security agreements appear aimed primarily at sending a message of long-term solidarity as Ukraine has moved onto the defensive in the war, hindered by low ammunition supplies and a shortage of personnel.

A French official, speaking anonymously because he was not allowed to disclosed the details of the deal, said ahead of Zelenskyy’s trip that the agreement with Paris aims to “provide long-term support” to Ukraine as well as sending a “message of determination.” He said it will include financial and economic support, in addition to military and security commitments.

The U.K.-Ukraine agreement pledged to help build up Ukraine’s defense manufacturing and to provide “swift and sustained security assistance” if Russia attacks again, though it doesn’t go into great detail.

European allies have appealed to the U.S. Congress in recent days to approve a package that includes aid for Ukraine, a $60 billion allotment that would go largely to U.S. defense entities to manufacture missiles, munitions and other military hardware that are being sent to the battlefields in Ukraine. The package faces resistance from House Republicans.

Scholz traveled to Washington a week ago to underscore the urgency of releasing U.S. funding. After meeting President Joe Biden, he said: “We shouldn’t beat around the bush: support from the United States is indispensable for the question of whether Ukraine will be in a position to defend itself.”

Germany is now the second-biggest supplier of military aid to Ukraine after the U.S., and Scholz has called recently for other European countries to step up with more weapons deliveries.

Zelenskyy has made one previous visit to Berlin since the Russian invasion in February 2022, in May last year. Friday’s trip will be his third to Paris since the invasion, following visits in February and May 2023.


Associated Press writer Sylvie Corbet in Paris contributed to this report.

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