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Zelenskyy Extends Europe Trip, Prepares For Surprise Meet With French President Macron

Ukraine President Zelenskyy will visit Paris later on Sunday, the third European country on his diplomatic trip, according to multiple French media outlets.

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Image: AP

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is scheduled to visit Paris as part of his diplomatic trip later on Sunday, marking his third visit to a European country, having already visited Rome and Berlin, multiple French outlets have reported.

French media reported that Zelenskyy planned to travel on to Paris but officials at the president and prime minister’s office wouldn’t confirm.

According to Le Figaro, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna are expected to welcome Zelenskyy at the Vélizy-Villacoublay airport.

After holding talks with the Pope and Italian leaders yesterday, Zelenskyy traveled to Germany where he met with the country's President and Chancellor. He arrived in German city Aachen where he is set to meet Mayor Sibylle Keupen and receive the International Charlemagne Prize.

Ukraine planning counteroffensive: Zelenskyy in Germany

During a news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin on Sunday, Zelenskyy stated that Ukraine is planning a counteroffensive with the objective of reclaiming areas currently under Russian occupation, and not to launch an attack on Russian territory. He further added that Ukraine's ultimate goal is to free the regions within its internationally recognised borders.

According to a report by The Washington Post, which cited previously undisclosed documents from a collection of US intelligence leaks, Zelenskyy has apparently considered the possibility of capturing territories within Russian borders to use as leverage in peace negotiations aimed at ending the war that was initiated by Moscow in February 2022. This stance could potentially create conflict with Western governments who have maintained that the weapons they provide should not be used to target any areas within Russia.

Asked about the report, Zelenskyy said, “We don’t attack Russian territory, we liberate our own legitimate territory.”

“We have neither the time nor the strength (to attack Russia),” he said, according to an official interpreter. “And we also don’t have weapons to spare, with which we could do this.”

“We are preparing a counterattack for the illegally occupied areas based on our constitutionally defined legitimate borders, which are recognized internationally,” Zelenskyy said.

Russia currently occupies the Crimean peninsula and certain areas in eastern Ukraine, which have predominantly Russian-speaking populations.

Zelenskyy is currently visiting his allies in search of additional military support to help his country defend itself against the Russian invasion, as well as financial aid to rebuild the damage caused by over a year of destructive conflict.

The Ukrainian President was flown to the German capital from Rome via a Luftwaffe jet after concluding his meetings with Pope Francis and Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni on Saturday, reported AP.

This visit marks his first trip to Berlin since the start of the war, and it follows Germany's announcement of a new military aid package for Ukraine, valued at over 2.7 billion euros ($3 billion), which includes anti-aircraft systems, tanks, and ammunition.

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