Draghi, Macron and Scholz are in Kiev

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On Thursday morning, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrived together in Kiev for their first official visit to Ukraine since the war. They took a train Wednesday evening from the Polish city of Medyka, and met President Volodymyr Zelensky in the early afternoon. The Romanian president, Klaus Iohannis, also participated in the visit.

During the press conference held at the end of the visit, Draghi, Macron and Scholz said they agreed that Ukraine would be immediately recognized the status of candidate country to join the European Union. “The most important message of our visit is that Italy wants Ukraine to join the European Union, it wants it to have candidate status and will support this position in the next European Council,” said Draghi. It should be noted that the recognition of candidate country status has been widely expected for weeks, and the most difficult steps to go through for Ukraine to join the Union will only come later.

Upon arrival in Kiev, French President Macron, speaking to reporters, said that with the visit the three European leaders want to “send a message of unity to all Ukrainian citizens: a message of support, to talk about both the present and the future, because the next few weeks, as we know, will be very difficult ». During the meeting with Zelensky, German Chancellor Scholz also announced that the Ukrainian president will participate in the next meeting of the G7, scheduled for June 26-28 in Germany.

The first stop of Draghi, Macron and Scholz’s visit was to Irpin, a small town on the western outskirts of Kiev that had been repeatedly bombed by Russian forces. On the sidelines of the visit Draghi told the head of the Kiev regional military administration, Oleksiy Kuleba, that everything that was destroyed by the Russians will be rebuilt: «They destroyed the kindergartens, they destroyed the childhood gardens. Everything will be rebuilt. They have already started, they have a digital system whereby every place that has been destroyed is now in the system. They know exactly where the sites that need to be rebuilt are. Each family has an app where they describe what happened, and they are already in a very advanced state ».

The visit of the three European leaders to Kiev will serve above all to demonstrate the proximity of the countries of the European Union to Ukraine after almost four months since the beginning of the Russian invasion. Speaking on Wednesday in Romania about the European response to the war, Macron said that “we are at a point where we Europeans must send clear political signals to Ukraine and her people who are heroically resisting”.

The trip to Kiev will therefore have precisely this as its main objective: to show the unity of European countries, after in recent weeks Zelensky had repeatedly appealed to the European Union to send more weapons to Ukraine and faster. Moreover, Zelensky had criticized Macron and Scholz in particular on several occasions for their openness to Russia, and for not having supported the Ukrainian cause enough.

Most likely, in the meeting with Zelensky, the three European leaders will also try to resolve the situation of grain blocked in Ukrainian ports, an issue on which they have been trying to find a compromise for weeks but on which no progress has been made for now.

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