Zelensky to meet Pope as Germany unveils more arms for Ukraine

The Guardian papers reports that on Saturday, German officials announced a new weaponry package as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Rome for talks with Pope Francis and Italian authorities.

“A crucial visit for Ukraine’s impending victory!” Zelensky tweeted as soon as he touched down in Italy, a member of the EU and NATO, on his first trip since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Despite having previously had cordial relations with Moscow, notably as a member of the hard-right coalition led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Italy has been a steadfast ally of Kiev, delivering both arms and aid while also supporting sanctions on Moscow.

Pope Francis has frequently urged for peace in Ukraine and offers prayers for the casualties of the war; he recently hosted Zelensky at the Vatican in February 2020.

Germany would offer all available assistance for as long as necessary, he explained.

“Violent step”

According to the ministry, the package will comprise 30 more Leopard-1 tanks, Marder armored vehicles, air defense systems, and surveillance drones.

Der Spiegel reported that it would be the largest package sent to Kiev by Germany since the start of the war.

Increasingly potent armaments have been sent to Ukraine by Western partners, though not yet the cutting-edge fighter jets that Zelensky has sought.

This week, the UK government declared that it will deliver Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine, becoming the first nation to do so. Russia referred to this as “an extremely hostile step” on the part of the UK government.

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