British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden and leaders of other Group of Seven countries met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday to discuss support for Ukraine and show unity among Western allies on the occasion of Victory in Europe Day, which marks the surrender of Nazi Germany. in 1945.
Ahead of the call, British officials said Britain would provide an additional 1.3 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) in military support to Ukraine to help the country defend against Russian forces.
The funding, which comes from UK government reserves, includes £300m of military equipment pledged by Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this week, such as radar systems to target Russian artillery, GPS jamming equipment and night vision devices.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a surprise visit to Ukraine, visiting the northern town of Irpin, which had been heavily damaged by Russia’s attempt to take the capital of kyiv at the start of the war. On Sunday, the mayor posted images of Trudeau on social media, saying the Canadian leader was shocked by the damage he had seen in civilian homes.
Trudeau’s office later said that “the prime minister is in Ukraine to meet with President Zelenskyy and reaffirm Canada’s unwavering support for the people of Ukraine.”
Jill Biden also made an unannounced visit on Sunday, arranging a surprise Mother’s Day reunion in western Ukraine with first lady Olena Zelenska. Biden has traveled under the cloak of secrecy, becoming the last high-profile American to enter Ukraine during his 10-week war with Russia.
“I wanted to come on Mother’s Day,” the first lady told Zelenska. “I thought it was important to show the people of Ukraine that this war must end and that this war has been brutal and that the people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.”
Marking Victory in Europe Day, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a televised address that Sunday was “8 May like no other”.
He said Germany had worked hard to come to terms with its actions during World War II, reconciling with Russia and Ukraine and committing to the concept of “never again”. But Russia’s “barbaric” invasion of Ukraine in February brought war back to Europe, Scholz said, a prospect that once seemed unthinkable.
Scholz also spoke about Germany’s efforts to support Ukraine since the invasion, including sending heavy weapons.
“We support Ukraine in the fight against the aggressor,” he said. “Failure to do so would mean capitulating to outright violence – and empowering the aggressor.”
He said he understood the concerns of some Germans that the war could spread further west, but that if their fears were valid, “fear must not paralyze us”.
“I am deeply convinced: (Russian President Vladimir) Putin will not win this war. Ukraine will survive,” he said. “Freedom and security will prevail, just as freedom and security triumphed over unfreedom, violence and dictatorship 77 years ago.”
German Bundestag President Bärbel Bas, Germany’s second-highest ranking official after the president, met with Zelenskyy in kyiv on Sunday and attended a commemorative event in honor of the anniversary of the end of World War II. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is also expected to visit in the coming days.
“We really appreciate that on the day of remembrance and reconciliation itself, and in what is such a trying time of war for us, the President of the German Bundestag Bärbel Bas came to support Ukraine,” a message said. posted on Zelenskyy’s Telegram channel on Sunday. .
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal posted a photo of himself shaking hands with Bas on Twitter. He wrote that Ukraine was counting on Germany’s support to recover Ukraine and join the 27 nations of the European Union.
The Croatian prime minister was also in Ukraine on Sunday following reports that a Croatian citizen fighting in Mariupol had been captured by Russian forces. The Croatian government said Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic’s visit presented “an expression of solidarity and support” with the Ukrainian leadership and the people.
Follow all AP stories about the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine.