(Munich) On Friday, world leaders gathered for the Munich Security Conference will hear from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. About a year after the Russian invasion, they are expected to reiterate their unshakable support for Kyiv.
His head of diplomacy, Dmytro Kouleba, recalled that Zelensky delivered a potent warning address at this conference a year prior.
This year, he said in a statement, he will speak via video link “and set the tone for conversations.”
In attendance and scheduled to speak early on Friday afternoon in the Bavarian capital are German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron.
There has been a year of fighting with no hint of appeasement, and the likelihood of a diplomatic settlement is nonexistent.
Tens of thousands of casualties have been reported on both sides since the operation began on February 24, 2022, and NATO anticipates another Russian offensive.
According to Mr Kouleba, “the priority is to accelerate the supply of arms and ammunition already promised to Ukraine.” He also pleaded for political decisions in favour of combat aircraft deliveries, for which Westerners are hesitant at this point, and reiterated his nation’s desire to join the Atlantic Alliance.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius expressed his hope that other nations, including Canada, Poland, and Germany, will commit to sending heavy tanks of the Leopard type to Kyiv.
He indicated in Munich that discussions were still going on.
Russia not invited
A biennial three-day conference in Munich on international security concerns attracts more than 150 government representatives.
There will also be Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, US Vice President Kamala Harris, US Foreign Minister Antony Blinken, and outgoing NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.
This year, a representative of Russia has yet to be invited.
The head of NATO expressed his worry about an attrition-based conflict on Thursday. In an interview with AFP, he cautioned that “we must be prepared for the long term; it can take many, many years.”
Western nations assist Kyiv by providing it with armaments and imposing economic sanctions on Russia.
According to Victoria Nuland, secretary of the State Department for Political Affairs, Washington and its allies are getting ready to implement “a substantial fresh package of sanctions” “around February 24,” the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
On the eve of the Munich meeting, the heads of diplomacy from the G7 nations will gather.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the allies have already put draconian sanctions in place on it, affecting the top echelons of the Russian government as well as its industry, banks, and oil sector.
Tensions with China
Tensions between the United States and China, heightened by a Chinese balloon overflying US territory, should also be an essential topic of discussion at the summit.
Beijing argued that it was a balloon for non-military purposes, and in retaliation, the US was charged with conducting balloon flights over Chinese territory.
These disagreements came to a head at a time when the Europeans, especially Germany and France, were still holding out hope that they could persuade China, which is still an ally of Moscow, to exert pressure on Putin to halt the war.
Olaf Scholz visited Beijing in November and met President Xi Jinping there.
And the Élysée said on Thursday that plans were “in preparation” for Emmanuel Macron to travel to China “in the first part of the year”.
Wang Yi will travel to Moscow following a tour of Europe. An adviser to the French head of state stated that his French counterparts “encouraged him” to “transmit messages” to “get Russia back to the negotiating table” and “stop the bombardments” against civilians.
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