Zelenskyy thanks Germany for support — as it happened – DW – 05/14/2023 (2023)

  • A German airforce planeflew Zelenskyy from Rome
  • Zelenskyy's talks in Berlin were focused on weapons, air defense, reconstruction, EU andNATO
  • The visit was kept secret for security reasons
  • France pledged more support after Zelenskyy's visit to Paris

This live updates article is now closed. For more President Zelenskyy's visit to Germany, click here.

Zelenskyy accepts International Charlemagne Prize

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy accepted theInternational Charlemagne Prize for European unity in Aachen, telling the audience that "peace was our primaryduty to our countries and to Europe."

Zelenskyy thanks Germany for support — as it happened – DW – 05/14/2023 (1)

In his acceptance speech, Zelenskyy said he was collecting the prize on behalf of the Ukrainian peoplewho fight daily for their freedom and for the values of Europe.

"Every one of them would deserve to stand here," he said. The Ukrainian leader emphasized that Ukraine wanted nothing more than peace but thatcould only be achieved with their victory in the conflict.

Zelenskyy entered the ceremonywith German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and received a standing ovation as he was welcomed into the town hall.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy receives Charlemagne Prize

Scholz then said that"Europe owes a lot to the Ukrainian people and personally to President VolodymyrZelenskyy."

"We stand together! We belong together! And our story will continue together," Scholz added.

Zelenksyy was announced the winner of the honor inDecember, and made it to Aachen to collect the prize in-person.

EU chief Von der Leyen says Ukrainians fighting for 'freedom, humanity and peace'

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, spoke at the award ceremony for the Charlemagne Prize in Aachen, where Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was present to receive the prize on behalf of the Ukrainian people.

"The person and the people that we are recognizing today, have lived up to the obligation" enshrined in the Charlemagne prize, the European Commission chief said.

"They are literally fighting for freedom, humanity and peace," Von der Leyen said. "They are bleeding and they are laying down their lives to safeguard the future of their children and of ours."

"President Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine know exactly what they're fighting for and they have understood what Europe and our union is all about," she added.

France pledgedmore military support during Zelenskyy's pitstop in Paris

France on Sunday announced that it would send additional military aid including light tanks, armored vehicles and air defense systems to Ukraine.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy extended his multi-stop European tour and visited Paris where he met President Emmanuel Macron for three hours.

Macron's office in a statement said that more Ukrainians will be made battle-ready. The country intends to train around 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers in France and over 4,000 others in Poland.

President Macron tweeted a photo with Zelenskyy and said "you can count on our support, our friendship, our brotherhood."

Scholz, Zelenskyy arrive in Aachen for prize ceremony

Following their talks in Berlin on Sunday morning, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Ukrainian PresidentVolodymyr Zelenskyy flew to the western German city of Aachen.

Zelenskyy is due to receive the prestigious Charlemagne Prizeforservices to Europe.

The prize was awarded to the president and the Ukrainian people in December for fighting not only for their country "but also Europe and European values."

Scholz, European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki are expected to give speeches.

The Charlemagne Prize, a non-monetary and largely symbolic award, was established in 1950 to celebrate efforts towardEuropean unification.

Ahead of the prize, arally in support of Ukraine drew several hundred people waving Ukrainian flags to Aachen.

Germansupport for Ukraine 'unwavering'

In a joint statement published following talks between German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Ukrainian President VolodymyrZelenskyy in Berlin, Germany said it "remains unwavering in its commitment to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity."

The German government "supports Ukraine’s initiative for a just and sustainable peace" while maintaining the country's territorial integrity, the statement said.

It addedthat the two sides have agreed on the need “to bring to justice those responsible for war crimes and other atrocities” and to "increase pressure on Russia and those who are supporting its war efforts through further sanctions."

Berlin said it iscommitted to helpingin the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine and that German businesses were ready to "support reconstruction efforts with know-how and technology."

The joint statement added that Germany actively "supports the modernization as well as reconstruction of the Ukrainian energy sector,"following severe damage to energy infrastructure by Russia's military.

Other highlights from the text includehow Germany "strongly supports Ukraine in its reform efforts and in meeting the requirements needed to start [European Union] accession negotiations,"and Berlin seeks through the NATO-Ukraine Commission "to further increase and expand the partnership" between the military alliance and Ukraine.

Scholz pledges support for Ukraine 'as long as needed'

Scholz-Zelenskyy hold Berlin news conference

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz once again promised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyythat Germany would support his country "for as long as necessary."

Speaking at a news conference following talks between the pair in Berlin, Scholz said Germany had now committed €17 billion ($18.5 billion) in military and humanitarian aidto Ukraine.

"We have close relations that will tie our countries for decades. In the face of [Russian] terror, we are moving closer together," Scholz added. "We are not only supporting Ukraine in humanitarian waysbut also politically, financially andsupplying weapons."

The German leader said Russia must be "made accountable for the crimes it has committed," describing how Moscow's forces have murdered and plundered during their nearly 15-month invasion.

Scholz also said he was pleased to be flying with Zelenskyy later Sunday to the western German city of Aachen so the Ukrainian president could receive the Charlemagne Prize which is awarded for efforts towards European integration.

Zelenskyy then thanked Germany for "supporting our nation ... for every life that you have saved."

The Ukrainian leader said Scholz had "shown leadership" that had "given all of us the opportunity to make the world a safer place."

Welcoming the new €2.7 billion military aid commitment from Germany, Zelenskyy said the package was a "strong pillar of support."

"Now is the time for us to determine the end of the waralready this year, we can make the aggressor's defeatirreversible already this year," he added.

However, Zelenskyy also held out the prospect of "a just and fair peace,"asUkraine's territorial integrity is as important as any other nation.

Zelenskyy thanks Germany for support — as it happened – DW – 05/14/2023 (2)

Zelenskyy given military honorsat German chancellery

Ukrainian President Zelenskyyreceivedfull military honors as he arrived at the chancellery in Berlinon Sunday morning.

Zelenskyy and Chancellor Scholz stood in silence as a military band played the Ukrainian and German national anthems before the pair moved inside.

DW's correspondent Nina Haase said Zelenskyy'svisit was a symbol that the two countries are trying to open a new chapter in relations after Germany was initially hesitant in supporting Ukraine with lethal weapons to counterthe Russian invasion.

"You can't overestimate how important this visit is to the German government," Haase said from a vantage point outside the chancellery.

"It comes ata time whenUkraine is preparing a massive counteroffensive [against Russian forces] and after Germany announced abig military package. So there are strong signals that Germany does stand strongly behind Ukraine."

On the eve of Zelenskyy'svisit, Germany pledgeda new package of military aid worth more than €2.7 billion($3 billion).

The package contained 30 of Germany's Leopard tanks as well as fighting vehicles, reconnaissance drones and four Iris-T air defense systems seen as crucial to stoppingRussian missiles from raining down on Ukrainian cities and critical infrastructure.

DW's political correspondent Thomas Sparrow said Zelenskyy's tripwould also focus on longer-term goals.

"Many European countries have signaled that they would like Ukraine to be part of European structures or even trans-Atlantic structures like NATO. We may see some sign of support verbally but I don't expect that to happen in a concrete way just yet. [The visit] isnot only about the immediate-termmilitary and economic aid, it's also about the long 8erm perspective for Ukraine within the European Union framework," Sparrow said.

Zelenskyy thanks Germany for support — as it happened – DW – 05/14/2023 (3)

Steinmeier welcomes Zelenskyy to Berlin

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has arrived for talks in Berlin with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Zelenskyy's motorcade pulled into Bellevue Palace, the official residence of the German head of state, on Sunday morning. Bellevue is located in the capital's Tiergarten district.

"In the most challenging time in the modern history ofUkraine, Germany [is] proud to be our true friend and reliable ally," Zelenskyy wrote in the guest book of the German presidency."Together we will win and bring peace back to Europe."

It is his first visit to Germany since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Steinmeier visited Kyiv inOctober, following a difficult period in relationsresulting from Steinmeier's advocacy of pro-Russiapolicies during his time as foreign minister.

After meeting with Steinmeier, Zelenskyy met Chancellor Scholz and his security cabinet.

Zelenskyy thanks Germany for support — as it happened – DW – 05/14/2023 (4)

Zelenskyy lands in German capital

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyyarrived in Berlin late Saturday, according to his official Twitter account."Already in Berlin. Weapons. Powerful package. Air defense. Reconstruction. EU. NATO. Security," Zelenskyy tweeted.

Zelenskyylast visited Germany for the Munich Security Council event thatyear just before the war broke out.

The visit comes afterthe German government on Saturdayoffered its biggest military aid package yet to Ukraine as it seeks to repel Russia's ongoing attacks.

Zelenskyy may also visit Aachen for Charlemagne Prize ceremony

The Ukrainian president is set to be awarded the prestigious Charlemagne Prizeon Sunday on behalf of the Ukrainian people.

The winner of the award was announced in December,and Zelenskyy will travel to the western German city of Aachen where the award is traditionally granted.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki were also expected to take part in the Aachen event.

On Saturday, Zelenskyy traveled toRome for talks with political leaders and the pope. Germany isthe ninth country he has visited since Russia'sinvasion after the United States, Poland, Britain, France, Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands and Italy.

rm, mm, dh/dj, wd (dpa, Reuters)

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