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Von der Leyen in Kyiv to mark Ukraine war anniversary

Von der Leyen in Kyiv to mark Ukraine war anniversary

Von der Leyen in Kyiv to mark Ukraine war anniversary

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arrived in Kyiv Saturday morning to express support for Ukraine on the second anniversary of Russia’s all-out invasion.

She arrived shortly after a Russian drone attack struck a residential building in the southern city of Odesa, killing at least one person, the Associated Press reported. 

“More than ever we stand firmly by Ukraine. Financially, economically, militarily, morally. Until the country is finally free,” von der Leyen said in a post on X after she arrived in Kyiv

Von der Leyen is accompanied other officials, including Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, whose country currently holds the presidency of the Council of the EU, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni also is in Kyiv and she will conduct a G7 videoconference from there later Saturday. The G7 call is to include G7 leaders including U.S. President Joe Biden, as well as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The G7 leaders are expected to agree on a joint statement advocating their continued support for Ukraine.

The visit comes amid Ukraine’s military and economic struggles at the two-year mark of Moscow’s full-scale invasion, with Russia winning ground on the battlefield and Ukraine hampered by a shortage of Western-supplied ammunition.

Von der Leyen is set to stress the EU’s continued support, as the bloc earlier this month agreed to provide €50 billion in aid to Ukraine and is working toward using the profits generated by confiscated Russian assets to finance Ukraine’s reconstruction. The EU also agreed on a new package of sanctions against Russia, which adds around 200 names to the list of individuals banned from traveling to the EU.

However, the EU’s 27 governments have yet to strike a deal to top up the Union’s defense fund and agree on joint arms purchases for Ukraine. Von der Leyen earlier this week also poured cold water on Kyiv’s hopes of taking quick next steps on its future accession to the EU.

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