KYIV/FRANKFURT (Reuters) -The president of the German parliament Baerbel Bas met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv on Sunday to commemorate victims of World War Two, discuss arms and Ukraine’s ambition to be considered for European Union (EU) membership.
In a video of a meeting with Bas, Zelenskiy said securing the Bundestag’s approval of heavy arms deliveries to help Ukraine fend off Russian attacks was one his country’s “top priorities.”
He also asked Bas and the Bundestag to support Ukraine in its bid for European Union membership, which Kyiv’s allies have said they want soon. However, candidature would have to be agreed unanimously and accession usually takes years of complex negotiations.
Zelenskiy earlier gave an emotional address for Victory Day, when Europe remembers the formal surrender of Germany to the Allies in World War Two, saying that “evil has returned” to Ukraine, but it wouldn’t be able to escape responsibility.
Bas told German newspaper Rheinische Post that she had assured Zelenskiy of Germany’s solidarity and ongoing support in Ukraine’s fight for its existence.
The two also agreed that peace should not be dictated by Russia, Bas was cited as saying in a story abstract released ahead of publication by the paper on Monday.
“We agreed that there must not be a dictated peace but only one brokered through a fair peace agreement,” she said.
Regarding Ukraine’s EU membership bid, “the Bundestag will speed all necessary procedures,” she said.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is expected to take part in a G7 virtual discussion later on Sunday on the war in Ukraine that will be attended by Zelenskiy.
Germany has agreed to supply Kyiv with heavy weapons, including self-propelled howitzers, in a reversal of a longtime policy not to send heavy weapons to war zones due to the country’s Nazi past.
Moscow calls its actions since Feb. 24 a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and rid it of what it calls “Nazis” and anti-Russian nationalism fomented by the West.
In Russia, Victory Day on May 9 is one of the country’s most important national events – a remembrance of the enormous sacrifices made by the Soviet Union in defeating Nazi Germany.
(Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis; additional reporting by Vera Eckert, Editing by Edmund Blair, Elaine Hardcastle and Raissa Kasolowsky)