Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has invited Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to visit, the German president’s office said on Thursday, three weeks after Steinmeier was snubbed by Kyiv.
Zelenskyy made the invitation during a telephone call with Steinmeier on Thursday, a source from the president’s office told AFP, during which “past irritations were cleared up” and Steinmeier expressed his “solidarity, respect and support” for Ukraine.
Last month, Steinmeier admitted he had offered to visit Ukraine with other EU leaders, but this was “not wanted in Kyiv.”
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Steinmeier, a former foreign minister, has faced growing criticism since Russia invaded Ukraine in February for his years-long detente policy toward Moscow.
Scholz, meanwhile, has been criticized for his own failure to visit Kyiv, as well as his hesitancy over providing heavy weapons to help Ukraine resist Russia’s invasion.
Even as German opposition leader Friedrich Merz visited Ukraine this week, Scholz said he did not want to visit himself until Kyiv’s differences with his fellow Social Democrat Steinmeier had been ironed out.
However, Germany did say last week it would send anti-aircraft tanks to Ukraine, in a clear switch in Berlin’s cautious policy on military backing for Kyiv.
Scholz also expressed backing for a motion passed by the German parliament calling for the acceleration of the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine.
In the telephone call on Thursday, Steinmeier said Germany “stands with united forces in solidarity at Ukraine’s side,” the source from the president’s office said.
Both presidents described the talks as “very important and very good,” the source said.
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