Western leaders rally around Kyiv to mark 2 years since Russia’s full-scale invasion

KYIV, Ukraine — President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed Western leaders to Kyiv Saturday to mark the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion, as Ukrainian forces run low on ammunition and foreign aid hangs in the balance.

Allies from the EU and the Group of Seven wealthy democracies rallied around Kyiv to express solidarity, with Zelenskyy joining a virtual G7 meeting Saturday and four world leaders traveling to Ukraine’s war-weary capital.


“Two years ago, here, we met enemy landing forces with fire; two years later, we meet our friends and our partners here,” Zelenskyy said as he met the dignitaries at Hostomel airfield just outside of Kyiv, which Russian paratroopers unsuccessfully tried to seize in the first days of the war.

A somber mood hangs over Ukraine as the war against Russia enters its third year and Kyiv’s troops face mounting challenges on the frontline amid dwindling supplies and personnel challenges. Its troops recently withdrew from the strategic eastern city of Avdiivka, handing Moscow one of its biggest victories. And Russia still controls roughly a quarter of the country after Ukraine failed to make any major breakthroughs with its summertime counteroffensive.

Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arrived in Kyiv shortly after a Russian drone attack struck a residential building in the southern city of Odesa, killing at least one person.

Three women also sustained severe burns in the attack Friday evening, regional Gov. Oleh Kiper wrote on his social media account. Rescue services combed through the rubble looking for survivors.

Hours later, Zelenskyy’s office announced the signing of 10-year bilateral security deals with Canada and Italy, with Ottawa committing to send Kyiv 3.02 billion Canadian dollars (close to 2.2 billion US dollars) in military and economic aid this year while Rome promised much-needed long-range weapons.

In a joint press conference, Meloni hailed the agreement with Kyiv and said, “We will continue to support Ukraine in what I have always deemed the just right of its people to defend itself.”

“Confusing the much-bandied about word ‘peace’ with ‘surrender,’ as some people do, is a hypocritical approach that we will never share,” she added.

Meloni also chaired a G7 videoconference from Kyiv that produced a joint statement Saturday reaffirming world leaders’ commitment to “supporting a comprehensive, just and lasting peace,” tightening sanctions on Russia and sending Ukraine military and economic aid for “as long as it takes.”

Von der Leyen vowed during the joint press conference that the bloc will stand with Ukraine “financially, economically, militarily, and most of all, morally, until (the) country is finally free.”

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