Boris Johnson meets with Ukraine’s Zelensky in Kyiv
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Several European heads of Government and politicians have made the trip to Kyiv for talks with Mr Zelensky. On Saturday afternoon, Boris Johnson flew to the capital and was pictured meeting the Ukrainian President face-to-face, a move that saw widespread praise for the UK Prime Minister. During the same day, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer also travelled to Kyiv for a meeting with the city’s Mayor Vitali Klitschko and Volodymyr Zelensky.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Josep Borrel both visited Kyiv and Bucha, the latter being the location of the horrific Russian massacre of hundreds of civilians.
In mid-March, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Czech Republic leader Petr Fiala and Slovenian counterpart Janez Jansa travelled to Ukraine.
But Mr Scholz’s absence from Kyiv and making a trip to visit Mr Zelensky has sparked a furious reaction.
In a devastating Op-Ed piece entitled ‘Boris Johnson in Kyiv – and when will Scholz finally visit Zelensky?’, Oskar Luis Bender wrote for BILD, Germany’s best-selling newspaper: “They all want to show one thing: solidarity with Ukraine! And what does Scholz do?
Olaf Scholz has been torn apart over his failure to visit Ukraine and meet Volodomyr Zelensky (Image: GETTY)
Boris Johnson travelled to Kyiv to meet the Ukrainian President on Saturday (Image: UKRAINIAN PRESIDENCY HANDOUT / GETTY)
“Chancellor Olaf Scholz has been asked several times to finally travel to Ukraine.
“Poland’s Prime Minister Morawiecki told BILD in March: ‘I call on Chancellor Scholz and all EU heads of government to go to Kyiv as well’.
“But the Chancellor is not saying if and when he wants to go to Ukraine.
“When asked in London on Friday, he only replied: ‘We always communicate travel plans once we leave’.
Ursula von der Leyen met Volodomyr Zelensky in Ukraine last week (Image: EU COMMISSION/POOL/GETTY)
“When asked by BILD, the Chancellery did not comment further.
“Is he copping out? At least that’s how it’s coming across on the Ukrainian side – and causing outrage!”
Ukraine Ambassador Andrij Melnyk told BILD: “The Federal Chancellor could also show up in Kyiv and Bucha to finally understand that the criminal Russia must also be crushed militarily.
“That’s why the Ukrainians would like Chancellor Olaf Scholz to bring along Marder vehicles, Leopards, Panzerhaubitze 2000 and other heavy war equipment on a special train.
Olaf Scholz is coming under pressure from the German media over his failure to visit Ukraine (Image: GETTY)
“That would be real solidarity on the part of the traffic light coalition!”
Germany’s slow response to following other Western superpowers and providing Ukraine with arms during the early stages of the war with Russia was widely criticised, although it has now agreed to supply anti-tank weaponry and missiles.
Mr Zelensky had initially been critical of Germany for failing to provide concrete help, and highlighted his frustrations in an address to the Bundestag last month.
But on Sunday the Ukrainian President was full of praise for Germany over what he said was a more favourable change in position towards Kyiv.
The Russia-Ukraine military imbalance (Image: EXPRESS)
He said in his nightly video address: “I spoke today with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz about how to bring to account all those guilty of war crimes.
“About how to strengthen sanctions against Russia and how to persuade Russia to seek peace.
“I am happy to note that recently Germany’s position is changing in Ukraine’s favour, and I consider this absolutely logical as a majority of Germans support this policy.
“I am grateful to them, and I expect that everything we agreed will be implemented. This is very important.”
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.