Russian Security Council Deputy Chair Dmitry Medvedev dismissed the visit of the leaders of France, Germany, and Italy to Ukraine for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other country leaders in Kyiv as a trip by "European connoisseurs of frogs, liver, and pasta" that means nothing for bringing peace to the country.
"European connoisseurs of frogs, liver, and pasta just love visiting Kyiv," Medvedev said in a post on Twitter Friday, deriding the French, German, and Italian leaders meeting Zelenskyy. "The benefits are zero. They again promised entry to the EU and old howitzers, downed some horilka (Ukrainian vodka), and then went on their way home by train, like a hundred years ago. So all's well. Only now this does not bring Ukraine closer to peace. And the clock is ticking.”
His comment came as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and French President Emmanuel Macron traveled by train together to Kyiv, with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis arriving separately for the talks, reported the Russian publication Grani.
After the talks, they spoke out in favor of Ukraine's membership to the European Union. And on Friday, the EU gave its blessing to Ukraine and neighboring Moldova to join the bloc.
Ukraine had applied to join the union four days after Russia's invasion in February. Within a week, the ex-Soviet states of Moldova and Georgia also applied. The EU said Friday that Georgia must meet more conditions before its application is approved.
Meanwhile, Macron said Ukraine will not be required to make concessions in its negotiations with Russia, including surrendering land.
"We always support the dialogue option, because one day the conflict must end and negotiations must begin. But the terms of the negotiations must be determined by Ukraine: France and Germany will never mediate behind Ukraine's back and will never demand concessions from Ukraine," he said.
Macron also announced that France is transferring six more CAESAR self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine, which are arriving in addition to 12 of the howitzers that have already been sent. France is also sending a DNA laboratory and special equipment for investigating war crimes.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov commented that he hopes Zelenskyy's guests at the talks "will not focus only on supporting Ukraine by pumping it with weapons," which he deemed as "useless and will continue the suffering of people. We hope that they use the contact to encourage President Zelenskyy to really look at the actual state of things."
Both Scholz and Macron also confirmed the EU will stand behind Ukraine until it achieves a full victory in the war, but a French source in Kyiv told The Economist and Reuters that full restoration of Ukraine territory, including the return of Crimea, remains an issue.
The Ukrainians gave the foreign leaders a "complete package of sanctions proposals against Russia, which were prepared by the international group," wrote Andriy Yermak, head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, on his Telegram channel.
"We must increase pressure on the aggressor, work on the seventh package of sanctions with the gas embargo," he added.
Before the talks, the leaders of France, Germany and Italy visited Irpin, a Ukrainian city where 75% of the buildings have been damaged in the Russian invasion.
"This says a lot about Russia's aggressive war, which is simply aimed at destruction," Scholz said after the tour. "We all need to keep this in mind when making decisions. It's scary what kind of destruction this war causes. And it's even worse when you see how senseless this violence is."
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