European leaders arrive in Kyiv

(CNN Spanish) – As Russia ramps up its attacks in eastern Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky will gain strong political support on Thursday as the leaders of Germany, France and Italy arrive in Kyiv.

French President Emmanuel Macron. The Elysee Palace confirmed on Thursday that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi had traveled to the city by train.

Check out the top war news this Thursday.

Leaders of France, Germany and Italy meet with Zelensky in Kyiv

From left to right, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi; Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Schulz; President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky; French President Emmanuel Macron and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis meet at a working session at Mariinsky Palace, Kyiv, Ukraine, on June 16. (Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images)

A CNN team on the ground confirmed that three high-ranking European leaders arrived in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Thursday amid the war with Russia.

French President Emmanuel Macron. The Elysee Palace confirmed on Thursday that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi had traveled to the city by train. Romanian President Klaus Iohannis also arrived in Ukraine.

The meeting with President Zelensky with Macron, Schulz, Draghi and Yohannes began at around 8 a.m. ET, according to a photo posted on Telegram by an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko.

“A busy day. Important meetings,” Zelensky said on his official channel Telegram, adding that he was happy to meet these leaders.

Speaking to reporters on the podium upon his arrival in Kyiv, Macron said the leaders would meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and visit the site of the alleged massacre.

Asked if he had a message for Ukrainians, Macron said he had a “message of European unity addressed to Ukrainian men and women”.

“The next few weeks, as we know, are going to be very difficult,” he said. “I want to support them and be on their side.”

As if to remind them that they were visiting a country terrified by an unprovoked attack, the sirens sounded shortly after the three leaders arrived at their hotel in the center of Kyiv.

Although the three countries have promised to provide weapons to help Ukraine defend against Russia, Zelensky has made no secret of his belief that they are not doing enough.

He has been particularly critical of Schulz and Macron, going so far as to suggest that both leaders were trying to placate Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“[Scholz] “Her government should not do a balancing act between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, but choose what their priority is,” Zelensky told German broadcaster ZDF earlier this week.

Zelensky has harsh words for Macron. The French president tried to present himself as an ally of Ukraine and an honest broker with Russia.

“We must not insult Russia so that on the day the fighting stops, we can build a ramp to get out through diplomatic means,” Macron said, in an interview earlier this month. I am convinced that France’s role is to be an intermediary power.”

“To be a leader, you don’t have to think of yourself as a leader, you have to act as one,” Zelensky told the Financial Times.

Russia expected Kyiv to be independent within 12 hours and presidential offices within 72 hours, says Ukraine

The Russian military expected the fall of Kyiv within 12 hours of the February 24 invasion, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov told CNN correspondent Matthew Chance in an exclusive interview in Brussels.

According to Reznikov, a document was found of a Russian military man killed in the invasion, in which Russian military objectives were identified.

“They thought they would be in the center of Kyiv within 12 hours,” the document said.

Reznikov said the Russians naively expected the Ukrainian government to flee the capital within 72 hours.

“Honestly, our partners in various capitals of the world were also naive. They told us that the invasion was imminent, and that you would fall. You only have 72 hours. That is why they did not give us heavy weapons.”

He said that only after Ukraine’s liberation of the Kyiv region in late March did Western partners begin to supply Ukraine with heavier weapons.

Watch the power of the M-4 rifles donated by the United States to Ukraine 2:44

Western military support ‘never stop’

During the interview, Reznikov also said that Western defense officials had told him that their military support for Ukraine would “never stop.”

The official said US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and other Western officials had told him, “Olexie, don’t worry, we won’t stop. We will continue to help your country, your people and your president.” He said.

Reznikov said when asked if America’s long-term commitment to Ukraine is sustainable.

He stated that the promises of the United States and the West related not only to military support, but also to financial, economic and political support.

“I think that [los aliados occidentales] They decided that they wanted to be partners in this victory.”

Ukraine’s defense minister told CNN that Western allies now understand that the idea of ​​not provoking Russia to avoid conflict does not work.

He said that NATO now views Russia as an adversary rather than a strategic partner.

“I am sure that Russia is the main threat to NATO and the European Union countries and the main threat to the global security system,” he said.

Xi told Putin in his birthday call that China will support Russia in security

Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated his support for Moscow on “sovereignty and security” in a phone call with his counterpart Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, as he maintained his support for the two-state union despite the global backlash against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

On his 69th birthday, Xi also pledged to deepen strategic coordination between the two countries, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

A separate reading of the Kremlin said the two leaders stressed that their countries’ relations “were at a critical stage” and reaffirmed their commitment to “consistently deepen the comprehensive partnership.”

The call is believed to be the second time the two leaders have spoken since Russia invaded Ukraine. They also spoke just days after Moscow launched what it insists it calls a “special military operation.”

Moscow plans to reopen the Mariupol Drama Theater 0:44

China also refrained from referring to Russia’s actions as an invasion and agreed a fine line on the issue. It has been presented as a call for peace and a defense of world order, while refusing to denounce Russia’s actions. It has also used its state media to mimic the Kremlin’s lines that blame the United States and NATO for the crisis.

During the call on Wednesday, Xi stressed that China has always “independently assessed the situation” in Ukraine and called on “all parties” to push for a “proper solution to the Ukraine crisis,” echoing language he used in a March call with the US president. Joe Biden.

He said China was “ready to continue playing its role” in promoting a “proper solution” for Ukraine.

The Kremlin’s summary of the invitation took this stance a step further, saying: “The Chinese president referred to the legitimacy of Russia’s actions to protect core national interests in the face of challenges to its security caused by external forces.”

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