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Zelensky said "We free our own legitimate territory"

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky He said on Sunday that his country is preparing for this Counterattack planned To liberate Russian occupied territories, not to invade Russian territory.

Speaking at a press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, Zelensky said UkraineIt aims to liberate territories within internationally recognized borders.

The Washington Post cited previously undisclosed documents from a team of US intelligence leaks showing that Zelensky considered trying to seize Russian territories for possible use as a bargaining chip in peace talks to end the war launched by Moscow in February 2022. At odds with Western governments who have insisted that the weapons they supply should not be used to attack Russian targets.

Asked about the report, Zelensky said: “We do not invade Russian territory, we liberate our own legitimate territory.”

“We don’t have the time or the energy (to attack Russia),” he said, according to an official interpreter. “And we don’t even have spare weapons with which to do it.”

Ukrainian President Zelensky visited Berlin

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (R) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speak to the media after talks at the chancellery on May 14, 2023 in Berlin, Germany.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

“We are preparing counterattacks for illegally occupied territories based on our constitutionally defined legitimate borders, which are internationally recognized,” Zelenskiy said.

Ukraine’s president is visiting allies in search of more weapons to help his country fend off Russian aggression and rebuild after more than a year of devastating conflict.

A Luftwaffe jet Zelensky flew from Rome to the German capital, where He met Pope Francis on Saturday and Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni.

It was his first visit to Berlin since the start of the war and came a day after the German government announced a new package of military aid for Ukraine worth more than 2.7 billion euros ($3 billion), including tanks, anti-aircraft systems and ammunition. .

Zelensky thanked Scholz for Germany’s political, financial and military support, saying the country was now second only to the United States in providing aid to Ukraine – and joked that he was serving as its biggest donor.

“German air defense systems, artillery, tanks and infantry fighting vehicles are saving lives in Ukraine and moving us closer to victory. Germany is a reliable ally! Together we are moving closer to peace!” He wrote on Twitter after the meeting.

Scholz said Berlin has given Kiev about 17 billion euros in bilateral aid so far and could expect more in the future.

“We will support you as long as necessary,” he said, calling for Russia to withdraw its troops and end the war.

After initially hesitating to supply Ukraine with lethal weapons, Germany has become one of the largest suppliers of weapons to Ukraine, including the Leopard 1 and 2 battle tanks, and the state-of-the-art IRIS-T SLM air-defense system. Modern Western hardware is seen as crucial if Ukraine is to succeed in its planned counterattack against Russian troops.

Zelensky said one of the reasons for his latest visit to allied capitals was to form a “fighter jet alliance” that would provide Ukraine with the fighter jets it needs to counter Russian air dominance.

Germany has said in the past that it does not need Ukraine’s F-16 jets, and Scholz responded to questions about possible aircraft supplies by referring to the anti-aircraft system it supplies to Kiev.

“This is what we as Germany are focusing on now,” he said.

In Ukraine, officials on Sunday denied that the country had anything to do with the downing of two Russian helicopters near the border the previous day.

In a joint statement after their meeting, Scholz and Zelensky said they supported efforts to bring to justice those responsible for atrocities in Ukraine and noted The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

They have pledged to ensure that sanctions against Russia are not violated and to explore the possibility of using frozen Russian assets for damages caused in Ukraine.

Germany has said it supports Kiev’s bid to join the European Union and the NATO member’s commitment to pave the way for Ukraine to join the military alliance in 2008.

Zelensky met for the first time with German head of state Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who was rejected by Kiev last year, apparently because of his previous close ties with Russia, causing a chill in diplomatic relations between Ukraine and Germany. Since then, both Steinmeier and Chancellor Olaf Scholz have visited Ukraine.

After meeting with Scholz and other senior officials at the chancellery, the two leaders flew to the western city of Aachen for Zelensky to receive the International Charlemagne Prize, awarded to him and the people of Ukraine.

Organizers say the prize recognizes that their resistance to Russian aggression is a defense “not only of their country’s sovereignty and the lives of its citizens, but also of Europe and European values.”

In other developments:

Andriy Yermak, Zelensky’s top aide, said on Sunday that five civilians were killed when an unexploded Russian shell exploded in Ukraine’s southern Kherson region.

Overnight, Russia launched a “massive” attack on Ukraine with Iranian-made Shahed explosive drones, which injured more than 30 people, according to the Ukrainian military.

Eighteen of the 23 drones were shot down, but of those that went through and were intercepted, 50 apartment buildings, private homes and other buildings were damaged, the military said, without elaborating.

Russia also hit the western city of Ternopil and the southern city of Mykolaiv with rockets, injuring an unspecified number of civilians.


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