G7 leaders discuss support for Ukraine on VE Day

LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden and leaders from other countries in the Group of Seven held talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday to discuss support for Ukraine and on Victory in Europe Day, which marks the Day marked Nazi Germany to demonstrate the unity of the western allies surrender 1945.

Before the call, British officials said Britain would provide Ukraine with an additional £1.3 billion ($1.6 billion) in military support to help the nation defend itself against Russian forces.

The funding, which comes from UK government reserves, includes £300million of military equipment that Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised earlier this week, such as radar systems to target Russian artillery, GPS jamming devices and night vision goggles.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid a surprise visit to Ukraine, touring the northern town of Irpin, which had been badly damaged by the Russian attempt to capture the capital, Kyiv, earlier in the war. Posting pictures of Trudeau to social media on Sunday, the mayor said the Canadian leader was shocked at the damage he saw to civilian homes.

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Trudeau’s office later said, “The prime minister is in Ukraine to meet with President Zelenskyy and reaffirm Canada’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people.”

Jill Biden also made an unannounced visit on Sunday, holding a surprise Mother’s Day meeting in western Ukraine with First Lady Olena Zelenska. Traveling under the guise of secrecy, Biden became the youngest high-profile American to enter Ukraine during his 10-week war with Russia.

“I wanted to come on Mother’s Day,” the US First Lady told Zelenska. “I felt it was important to show the Ukrainian people that this war must stop and that this war was brutal and that the people of the United States stand behind the people of Ukraine.”

On the occasion of Victory Day in Europe, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a televised address that Sunday was “a May 8th like no other”.

He said Germany worked hard to admit its actions during World War II, to reconcile with both Russia and Ukraine, and to commit to the concept of “never again.” But Russia’s “barbaric” invasion of Ukraine in February has brought war back to Europe, Scholz said, a prospect that once seemed unthinkable.

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Scholz also spoke about Germany’s efforts to support Ukraine since the invasion, including the delivery of heavy weapons.

“We support Ukraine in the fight against the aggressor,” he said. “Failing to do so would mean capitulating to sheer force – and empowering the aggressor.”

He said he understood the concerns of some Germans that the war could spread further west, but that while their fears are justified, “fear must not paralyze us”.

“I am deeply convinced: (Russian President Vladimir) Putin will not win this war. Ukraine will survive,” he said. “Freedom and security will triumph – just as freedom and security triumphed over bondage, violence and dictatorship 77 years ago.”

Bundestag President Bärbel Bas, the second highest-ranking German civil servant after the president, met with Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Sunday and attended a commemoration ceremony to mark the anniversary of the end of World War II. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is also expected to visit in the coming days.

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“We really appreciate that on the day of remembrance and reconciliation itself and at a time of war that was so difficult for us, the President of the German Bundestag, Bärbel Bas, came to support Ukraine,” one said Post published on Zelenskyy’s Telegram channel on Sunday.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal tweeted a photo of himself shaking hands with Bas. He wrote that Ukraine is counting on Germany’s support to win back Ukraine and join the 27 nations of the European Union.

The Croatian prime minister was also in Ukraine on Sunday after reports that a Croatian national fighting in Mariupol was captured by Russian forces. The Croatian government said Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic’s visit was “an expression of solidarity and support” with the Ukrainian leadership and people.

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Follow all AP stories on the Ukraine war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine.

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https://www.local10.com/news/world/2022/05/08/g7-leaders-discuss-support-for-ukraine-mark-ve-day/ G7 leaders discuss support for Ukraine on VE Day

Joel McCord

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