Ukrainian President to meet with top German officials in Berlin

Monitoring Desk

Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly called for Germany to do more to help Ukraine protect itself against Russia. But with Merkel’s retirement imminent, grand commitments are looking increasingly unlikely.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is meeting with top German officials on Monday in Berlin.

Since Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014, Germany has been extensively involved in dealing with Ukraine. But relations between Ukraine and Germany have soured more recently.

A day of meetings
Zelenskyy first met with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Bellevue Palace.

He will then meet with Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, before heading to an evening dinner with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

It is expected to be Merkel’s final meeting with Zelenskyy before her retirement, following German national elections in September.

What’s on the agenda?
In addition to discussing German-Ukraine relations, talks are expected to cover the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

Signed in February 2015 between France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine, and proto-states the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, this was a package of measures to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Zelenskyy and Merkel are expected to discuss Ukraine’s reform process as well as economic issues.

A main focus will be on protecting Ukraine against potential financial losses from Nord Stream 2. The pipeline will transport natural gas directly from Russia to Germany, bypassing Ukraine and other Central and Eastern European countries, meaning they will lose out on transit fees.

There has been speculation in the media about compensation, without any concrete details. Shortly after this, in quick succession, Merkel and Zelenskyy will both travel to Washington, where Nord Stream 2 is likely also to be on the agenda.

Zelenskyy might also repeat his call for Germany to supply arms to Ukraine, a request that Berlin has so far refused.

Zelenskyy made a bid for weapons in May, weeks after around 100,000 Russian troops amassed on its border and in the annexed Crimea region.

Ukraine is also seeking EU and NATO membership, with Zelenskyy saying that his country has done enough to be given “clear commitments” on this.

Kyiv-based foreign policy expert Olena Hetmanchuk told DW: “There is an expectation that Merkel might support the prospect of EU accession for Ukraine, as a kind of parting gift.”

Courtesy: DW

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