TOP STORIES Draghi, Scholz and Macron face various challenges during their...

Draghi, Scholz and Macron face various challenges during their visit to Ukraine.


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For each of the three European leaders who traveled to Ukraine on Thursday, the trip presented different challenges.

French President Emmanuel Macron has positioned himself as the world’s chief negotiator with the Kremlin, a role that is causing friction with the Ukrainian government. He has been at loggerheads with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky over the French president’s repeated comments that Russia should not be humiliated in order to maintain a diplomatic ladder to get out of the war. On Wednesday, speaking from Romania, Mr Macron said France and Europe would continue to help Ukraine with financial, military and humanitarian aid, but also wanted peace.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz turned decades of his country’s politics around by announcing in April a 100 billion euro ($104 billion) plan to arm Germany, send weapons to Ukraine and end his country’s dependence on Russian energy. It has since faced criticism for Germany’s slow delivery of weapons.

Although Germany promised to deliver heavy weapons in the coming months, they never arrived. No new arms shipments will be announced on Thursday, two German officials said on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the press.

German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said on Thursday that three multiple rocket launchers the country had previously promised would be sent to Ukraine by the end of July. Ms. Lambrecht, who commented ahead of a meeting with other NATO defense ministers in Brussels, said that Ukrainian soldiers had almost completed their training in the use of self-propelled howitzers and that seven such systems would soon be delivered to Ukraine.

Mr. Scholz, whose Social Democratic Party has a long history of being soft on Russia, was ambivalent about his desired outcome of the war, saying that Russia should not win and that Ukraine should not lose. He did not say that Ukraine should win.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who has taken a hard line on Russia in Italy, traditionally Moscow-friendly, said economic pressure is important to get Moscow to the negotiating table. Last month, Mr Draghi called for a ceasefire in Ukraine “as soon as possible” to secure a negotiated end to the war.

Official peace talks between Ukraine and Russia have long stalled as the war has devolved into grueling artillery battles in which Russia appears to have the upper hand. Many in Kyiv have come to see European talk of peace, even in the distant future, as a covert pressure to compromise at the expense of territory.

Abroad survey in 10 European countries The European Foreign Affairs Council, published on Wednesday, showed that most Europeans want Ukraine to immediately make peace with Russia, even if it means losing territory. A smaller percentage of people believed that only a military defeat of Russia could bring peace.

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