German Opposition Leader Meets Zelenskiy as Scholz Refuses Visit
(Bloomberg) -- German opposition leader Friedrich Merz had an hour-long meeting with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv on Tuesday, amid a background of growing tension between the governments in Berlin and Kyiv.
The talk went “exceptionally well”, Merz’s spokesman later wrote on Twitter.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz has made clear that he won’t travel to the Ukraine capital after German President Frank Walter Steinmeier’s trip was canceled at the last minute by Ukraine officials two weeks ago. Zelenskiy has been critical of Steinmeier, who used to be a close ally of former SPD Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, for his friendly relationship with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in the past.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, Andrej Melnyk, has criticized Scholz’s decision not to travel to Kyiv. He’s repeatedly called on Germany to send more heavy weapons to Ukraine and to stop all energy imports from Russia. Last week, Scholz decided in a surprise move to send 50 Gepard tanks. He also plans to offer the Ukraine army seven heavy artillery systems.
Merz arrived on a night train in Kyiv Tuesday morning. Despite security warnings from German authorities, he traveled without any personal protection. His spokesman said he’ll inform Scholz about the details of his discussions with Zelenskiy.
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