Pedro Sánchez arrives in kyiv to meet with Zelensky | International
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The President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, has arrived by train in kyiv this Thursday morning, at the start of a trip together with the Prime Minister of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen, in which they will meet with the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. The two leaders, who traveled about ten hours due to the impossibility of flying due to the closure of Ukrainian airspace since the beginning of the war, will hold a working lunch, a bilateral interview and a joint press conference with Zelensky. They will also travel to Borodianka, one of the towns on the outskirts of kyiv marked by destruction and signs of war crimes during the period in which they were occupied by Russian troops.
Sánchez has announced his arrival in the city in a tweet in which he underlines the “support, solidarity and commitment” of Spain with Ukraine, while Frederiksen has done so with a statement, broadcast on his social networks, in which he expresses his admiration Zelensky and the Ukrainian people for their “bravery” and their defense of the country “in the face of the illegal and unprovoked war of [Vladímir] Putin”, the Russian president.
This Tuesday, during a visit to the reception center for Ukrainian refugees in Malaga, Sánchez explained that he will transfer Zelenski during their meeting “the resounding, unequivocal commitment of the European Union and without a doubt of the Government of Spain, of Spanish society and of all its institutions for peace”. “It is a cruel, unjust and illegal war that we condemn […] We are going to do everything in our power to guarantee peace as soon as possible”, he added, stressing that, while the conflict lasts – which turns 57 this Thursday – Spain will continue to deliver humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine.
134,000 people have arrived in Spain from Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict, on February 24, and some 64,000 of them have already received the temporary protection order, Sánchez said this Tuesday in Malaga. They are mainly women and minors, with an average age of 28 years. Spain has launched three other reception centers, in Madrid, Barcelona and Alicante.
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The visit also coincides with the announcement of the reopening “soon” of the Spanish Embassy in kyiv, relocated shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. The representation of the EU and those of other EU countries, such as France and Italy, have already returned to the Ukrainian capital.
The Russian withdrawal around kyiv at the beginning of the month, to focus the offensive in the south and east, and the relaxation of the bombing in the western half of the country, have facilitated diplomatic visits such as the one on Wednesday. During the siege of the capital, the only EU leaders who met Zelensky there were Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki; his deputy prime minister and leader of the ultra-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski; the Czech Prime Minister, Petr Fiala, and his Slovenian counterpart, Janez Jansa. It was a joint train trip on March 15 and the European Commission distanced itself from the initiative.
Since then, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, together with the head of community diplomacy, Josep Borrell, and the head of the Slovak Government, Eduard Heger, have passed through kyiv, among others; the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, and the president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola. The last to do so was, this Wednesday, the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, who assured Zelenski that he is “personally convinced” that “sooner or later” the sanctions of the European Union will also be directed against oil and Russian gas.
The relative calm around the capital has, however, been altered in recent days by the Russian response to the sinking last week of the Moscow (Moscow), its flagship in the Black Sea. The anti-aircraft sirens have returned (on Wednesday night they sounded several times) and the bombing of kyiv or Lviv, where seven people died on Monday in a missile attack, although far from the harshest days of the siege of the capital.
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