The presidents of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland are heading to Kyiv to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
“On our way to Kyiv, to a city that has suffered terribly due to Russian war since my last visit,” Estonian President Alar Karis said on Twitter.
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said on Wednesday he was “heading to Kyiv with a strong message of political support and military assistance”.
Heading to Kyiv with a strong message of political support and military assistance.
Lithuania 🇱🇹 will continue backing Ukraine's 🇺🇦 fight for its sovereignty and freedom.
Разом до перемоги! pic.twitter.com/WLb5yR5W69
— Gitanas Nausėda (@GitanasNauseda) April 13, 2022
Polish President Andrzej Duda and Latvian President Egils Levits are also on the trip.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier was scheduled to be part of the visit “to send a strong signal of European solidarity with Ukraine” but said on Tuesday he was not welcome by Ukraine.
“I was prepared to do this, but apparently, and I must take note of this, this was not wanted in Kyiv,” he said.
Steinmeier’s comments came after the German newspaper Bild quoted an unidentified Ukrainian diplomat as saying he was not welcome in Kyiv at the moment.
President Zelenskyy has been critical of Steinmeier’s historical advocacy of Western rapprochement with Russia.
The German president has been a leading advocate of the “Wandel durch Handel” (Change through trade) concept, which argues that fostering close commercial ties can help spur democratic reforms.
For historical reasons, Berlin had been reluctant to send weapons to Ukraine, but it has now sent anti-tank weapons, missile launchers and surface-to-air missiles in response to the conflict.
Last week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Kyiv after pledging to provide more than $130m in sophisticated weaponry to Ukraine.
Downing Street described Johnson’s surprise trip as a “show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people” and said his one-on-one meeting with Zelenskyy would focus on long-term support for the country and new financial and military aid.