President Volodymyr Zelensky has declared that Ukraine does not intend to launch strikes on Russian soil during his visit to Germany, where a substantial new defence aid package was secured for Kyiv.
In a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, he stated, “We aren’t launching attacks on Russia.” He further explained that Ukraine’s actions are aimed at reclaiming territories unlawfully occupied, rather than instigating aggression.
Chancellor Scholz pledged his continued support for Ukraine, promising €2.7bn (£2.4bn) in weaponry, including advanced German Leopard tanks and additional anti-aircraft systems to protect Ukraine from the ongoing Russian missile and drone attacks.
Zelensky noted that this latest aid package was the most substantial since Russia’s full-scale aggression began in February 2022.
According to BBC’s Jenny Hill in Berlin, Germany’s perspective on Ukraine has shifted significantly due to the war, moving from a hesitant military hardware supplier to nearly doubling its support overnight.
Russia, meanwhile, has accused Ukraine of attacking targets within its borders, including a purported strike on the Kremlin in Moscow earlier this month. Ukraine has denied these claims while asserting its right to use force to regain control over its territories currently under Russian rule, including four regions in the south and east and the Crimea peninsula, annexed by Moscow in 2014.
Later on Sunday, Zelensky is scheduled to receive the prestigious Charlemagne Prize in the western city of Aachen for his contributions to European unity. The award has been previously received by notable figures such as Winston Churchill, Pope Francis, and Bill Clinton.
Zelensky arrived in Germany from Italy, his plane escorted by two German Air Force fighter jets. In Rome, he held meetings with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, and had a private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
The Pope expressed his ongoing prayers for peace in Ukraine and emphasised the critical need to assist “the most fragile people, innocent victims” affected by Russia’s invasion. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Meloni assured Zelensky of Rome’s support for a united Ukraine.