(Bloomberg) — President Volodymyr Zelenskiy arrived in Berlin overnight, where he is expected to hold talks with Chancellor Olaf Scholz and other German leaders, a day after a visit to Rome, which included an audience with Pope Francis.
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Germany announced on Saturday that it is preparing a record-breaking package of military aid for Ukraine worth nearly $3 billion.
Ukraine fired on targets in the occupied Luhansk region with UK Storm Shadow missiles on Friday, the Russian defense ministry said. According to Russian media, two Russian military helicopters and two jets crashed in the Bryansk region, which borders Ukraine, on Saturday.
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(All times CET)
Zelenskiy in Berlin for talks with German leaders (8 hours)
Zelenskiy arrived in Berlin overnight, where the Ukrainian president is expected to hold talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and other top officials. He arrived in a Luftwaffe jet from Rome, according to the Associated Press. He met the Italian Prime Minister, President and Pope Francis there on Saturday.
Germany on Saturday announced a record-breaking package of military aid to Ukraine worth nearly $3 billion.
Zelenskiy and Scholz will travel to the western German city of Aachen later on Sunday, where Ukraine’s leader will receive the Charlemagne Prize – for work done in the service of unification – awarded to him and the people of Ukraine.
Read more: Europe crowns Zelensky as new Charlemagne: Andreas Kluth
Ramaphosa, Zelenskiy talk after Russian gun claims (1am)
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa held talks with Zelenskiy on Saturday amid allegations that the country had supplied arms and ammunition to Russia despite Pretoria taking a neutral stance on the invasion of Ukraine.
“Anyone who helps an aggressor with a weapon becomes an accomplice with all the consequences,” Zelenskiy said in a statement after talking to Ramaphosa remotely from Rome. He said he called on Ramaphosa “to work together with other countries of the world, all continents and Africa to implement our peace formula.”
South Africa and the US also tried to make amends on Friday after US ambassador Reuben Brigety was summoned to protest his accusation over Russian arms shipments.
Read more: Ramaphosa, Zelenskiy Hold Talks Amid Russian Weapons Dust-up
Zelenskiy swears ‘results’ of counter-offensive (8:02pm)
Zelenskiy said Ukraine is preparing for a counter-offensive against Russia with great effort, adding that “significant steps will be taken soon”. He gave no further details in a live interview with Italian public broadcaster Rai Uno.
“You will see results,” he said. “We believe in victory.”
Zelensky says he urged Pope to ‘condemn Russian crimes’ (6:21 p.m.)
Zelenskiy said on Twitter that he urged Pope Francis, at their private meeting at the Vatican on Saturday, “to condemn Russian crimes in Ukraine. Because there can be no equality between the victim and the aggressor.”
“I also talked about our Peace Formula as the only effective algorithm for achieving a just peace. I proposed to join in its implementation,” Zelenskiy said.
A Vatican statement after the meeting made no mention of peace efforts, noting that the two men had discussed “the” humanitarian and political situation in Ukraine caused by the ongoing war.
Russian Kommersant says two fighter jets and two helicopters crashed in Bryansk (5.30pm)
Two Russian military jets — a Su-24 and a Su-35 — and two Mi-8 helicopters likely crashed Saturday in the Bryansk region, not far from Ukraine’s northeastern border, killing their crews, the newspaper Kommersant reported. .
Earlier, Russian media reported that a plane and a helicopter had crashed, the circumstances are still being investigated.
In his report, which cited “preliminary data”, Kommersant said the jets were heading to Ukraine’s Chernihiv region on a bombing mission, the helicopters having followed them to pick up crew members when they were shot down by enemy fire.
Russia says Ukraine used British storm shadow missiles to attack Luhansk (3.30pm)
Ukrainian forces used Storm Shadow missiles supplied by the UK to attack occupied Luhansk, Russia’s defense ministry said in an update on what it calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Russia said the targets were a polymer factory and a meat factory, without providing any evidence. There was no immediate comment from the Ukrainian military. Images posted on social media showed large plumes of smoke rising in the city far behind the front lines in eastern Ukraine.
The UK confirmed this week that it is donating the weapons to Ukraine, saying the move was a “calibrated and proportionate response to Russia’s escalations”. The missiles have a firing range of more than 250 kilometers (155 mi). It was unclear when the Storm Shadows would be ready for deployment.
Read more: UK sends long-range storm shadow cruise missiles to Ukraine
Germany announces €2.7 billion military aid package for Ukraine (10 a.m.)
Germany is preparing another military aid package for Ukraine worth more than €2.7 billion ($2.9 billion), the country’s defense ministry said, confirming an earlier report by Der Spiegel.
Read more: Germany announces record €2.7 billion in military aid to Ukraine
The record-sized package is intended to continue to support Kiev in its defense against Russia and will include equipment related to artillery, air defense and armored fighting vehicles, including main battle tanks.
“We are once again showing that Germany takes its support seriously,” said German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius. “Germany will provide all the help it can – as long as it is needed,” he added.
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