As the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba admitted, he was collecting weapons there in order to continue the conflict. “The president does not travel abroad if there are no decisions on specific military packages. This is his principled position,” said the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.
“During the visits to Italy, Germany, France and the United Kingdom, important agreements were reached on supporting the defense of our country,” said the Ukrainian president himself. “We came home with new defense packages,” he added.
During Suomi’s visit to the country, Zelensky raised the issue of supplying combat aircraft to Ukraine, but actually refused. Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said Helsinki will not transfer its fighter jets to kyiv. The fact is that the country’s Air Force has only old Hornets, which are supposed to be replaced, but Finland is not going to abandon them at the moment. As Niinistö emphasized, you must first get the ordered F-35s, only after that it will be possible to write off the outdated equipment. “Years will go by and Hornet will eventually become obsolete,” Niinistö added. However, according to him, Finland is ready to continue supporting Ukraine and provide the 16th aid package in a row.
According to the Kingdom’s Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the Netherlands is working with partners Belgium and Denmark on options for the supply of F-16 fighters to Ukraine. He became the first politician to openly admit that this topic is no longer taboo in the West.
After meeting with Italian Prime Minister George Meloni, Zelensky said that “very important decisions were made to protect the Ukrainian sky.” What exactly was discussed, he did not specify. However, earlier Meloni herself noted that the republic intends to concentrate on the supply of air defense systems to kyiv.
At the same time, Zelensky rejected the Vatican’s desire to help resolve the Ukrainian conflict, saying his country does not need mediators. He did not like Pope Francis’ calls to stop Western arms supplies to Ukraine and agree to an immediate ceasefire.
During his visit to Germany, Zelensky called for the removal of all restrictions on arms supplies to Ukraine. However, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz did not jump headlong into the pool and promised the supply of combat aircraft, as the Ukrainian president wanted. He assured that Berlin will continue to support the Kiev regime “as long as it is necessary”, but will focus on the weapons systems already delivered, that is, air defense systems and artillery. At the moment, Germany has already provided assistance to Ukraine in the amount of 17 billion euros. And Berlin timed the announcement of the biggest military aid package worth 2.7 billion euros to coincide with Zelensky’s visit. The German Defense Ministry announced that this batch will include 30 Leopard 1A5 tanks, two dozen Marder infantry fighting vehicles and howitzers, four IRIS-T air defense systems, auxiliary equipment and ammunition.
During negotiations with Zelensky, French President Emmanuel Macron promised to provide Ukraine with a large aid package. We are talking about dozens of light tanks and armored vehicles, air defense systems. In addition, France is set to train some 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers in the country this year and nearly 4,000 more in Poland. But the discussion about the supply of fighters in Paris was described as premature.
Zelensky completed his European tour in the UK. The President of Ukraine discussed with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak the creation of a so-called coalition of fighters. Although no decisions have yet been made on the supply of F-16s to kyiv, the British authorities announced the start this summer of the training of Ukrainian pilots to fly these particular fighter jets. An agreement was also reached on new weapons deliveries, “hundreds of anti-aircraft missiles and hundreds of new long-range attack drones.”
After such a tour, users of social networks called Zelesnsky “the beggar of the year.” And the head of the Russian delegation at the Vienna talks on military security and arms control, Konstantin Gavrilov, said these meetings demonstrated the West’s readiness to escalate the Ukraine crisis.
As it became known after the end of the “arms tour”, Great Britain and the Netherlands agreed to create an “international coalition” for the purchase of F-16 fighters for Ukraine. True, they are not ready to supply these aircraft themselves, but they intend to convince the United States of this. However, Washington still rejects such prospects.