Scholz, Zelenskiy discuss military support, peace in phone call

By Thomson Reuters Mar 14, 2024 | 4:17 PM

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz assured Ukraine its international partners will cooperate closely on military support in a telephone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a government spokesperson said on Thursday.

The phone call took place ahead of talks on Friday between Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Berlin to discuss aid for Ukraine, just over two years since Russia invaded its neighbour.

“The Chancellor and Ukrainian President agreed to continue their constructive dialogue, also with a view to global support for a peace solution, and to remain in close contact,” said the German spokesperson in a statement.

Zelenskiy said they discussed defence cooperation and that he had thanked Germany for joining Czech efforts to obtain artillery ammunition for Ukraine, which will result in fresh rounds by June.

“I informed the Federal Chancellor about the priority needs of Ukrainian defenders: armored vehicles, artillery, and air defense,” Zelenskiy posted on social media platform X.

Scholz has so far resisted calls to supply Ukraine with Taurus cruise missiles, saying German soldiers would need to be involved to help operate them which could lead to an international escalation of the conflict.

Zelenskiy said he and Scholz had coordinated positions before Friday’s three-way meeting in Berlin. The talks follow tension between France and Germany over comments made by Macron in which he did not rule out deploying ground troops in Ukraine.

(Reporting by by Madeline Chambers and Yuliia Dysa, Editing by Rachel More and Nia Williams)