Zelensky Meets With German Leaders, a Day After Their Large Weapons Pledge

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine met with Germany’s leaders in Berlin on Sunday morning, a day after Germany announced its largest package of military aid yet for Kyiv and as the two nations seek to turn the page on months of rocky relations.

Escorted by German fighter jets, Mr. Zelensky was making his first to Germany since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began more than a year ago. He met first with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at Berlin’s Bellevue Palace and was then received with military honors by Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the chancellery.

The grand reception for Mr. Zelensky came despite the fact that Mr. Scholz, whose country is one of Ukraine’s largest financial and military backers, was among the last of European leaders to receive a visit from the wartime president.

Mr. Zelensky and Mr. Scholz are hoping to improve ties after a year marred by diplomatic sniping and wrangling over Berlin’s initially slower pace in delivering weapons to Ukraine. Both sides are aware that their relationship will be more important than ever ahead of Ukraine’s looming counteroffensive against Russia, in which an influx of sophisticated Western-supplied weapons is expected to play a key role.

“At the most difficult time in Ukraine’s modern history, Germany has proved to be our true friend and reliable ally, standing resolutely by the Ukrainian people in the fight to defend freedom and democratic values,” Mr. Zelensky wrote in the Bellevue Palace guest book on Sunday. “Together we will win and bring peace back to Europe.”

Mr. Zelensky’s trip to Germany follows a visit to Rome, where peace negotiations were a major theme in meetings with Pope Francis and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

When asked about negotiations, Mr. Zelensky’s government in Kyiv has consistently said that its priority is to reclaim all of the territory that Russia currently holds, including in Crimea, and that this can be achieved either through battlefield gains or through a decision made in Moscow to withdraw. President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has shown no signs of wanting to make concessions or engage in meaningful dialogue about ending the war.

Some European officials have expressed concern that American support for Ukraine could wane if a Republican is elected president next year. Ukrainian and German officials have privately said that Mr. Zelensky may be hoping to persuade Mr. Scholz to play a more influential role in leading European support for the war and for negotiations on a potential settlement of the conflict.

That is something the chancellor has been reluctant to do.

Later on Sunday, Mr. Zelensky is expected to travel to the western German city of Aachen to receive the prestigious Charlemagne award on behalf of himself and the Ukrainian people. The award is bestowed on people deemed to have done the most to promote European unity.

Previous winners have included Winston Churchill, Pope Francis, Angela Merkel and Bill Clinton. The judges’ decision to award the prize to Mr. Zelensky and the people of Ukraine underscored both how the war has united Europeans and the irony that Ukraine is not a part of the European Union, despite Kyiv’s strong entreaties to join.

Russia has fired missiles at the Ternopil region in western Ukraine, Ukrainian officials on Sunday, hitting the hometown of Ukraine’s Eurovision group during the song contest and demonstrating Moscow’s ability to launch attacks far from the front lines.

The overnight strike involved cruise missiles and destroyed two houses, the regional governor, Volodymyr Trush, said on Sunday on the Telegram messaging app. Other homes, buildings and vehicles were also damaged, he added. While initial reports said two civilians had been injured, by Sunday morning Mr. Trush said that “there were no casualties from this extraordinary event.”

Ukraine’s entry to the Eurovision competition, the pop duo Tvorchi, wrote on its Instagram page that “Ternopil is the name of our hometown, which was bombed by Russia while we sang on the Eurovision stage about our steel hearts, indomitability and will.” Tvorchi finished in sixth place in the competition, which concluded on Saturday night in Liverpool, England.

The attack was deep in western Ukraine, less than 100 miles from Lviv, an area that has largely been spared the brunt of the war. It signaled that even though the Kremlin’s stock of weapons may have been depleted by 15 months of fighting, Russia retains the ability to target almost any part of Ukraine.

Ukraine’s Air Force said that Russia overnight had launched attacks across the country using drones and cruise missiles. It said in a post on Telegram that air defenses had intercepted 25 attack drones and three cruise missiles, but did not specify how many had managed to get through.

The Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, was also among the targets. Serhiy Popko, the head of Kyiv’s military administration, said that Ukrainian soldiers had intercepted and destroyed Russian reconnaissance drones launched at Kyiv. It was not immediately possible to independently verify the claims.

But the Ukrainian military’s General Staff said in its morning update on Sunday that the Kremlin’s top focus was still on eastern Ukraine, with Bakhmut and Maryinka “remaining at the epicenter of the fighting.” In recent days, Kyiv’s forces have made advances in Bakhmut, where tens of thousands of soldiers are believed to have died.

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