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With Prospect of F-16s Closer, Zelensky Heads to the G7 Summit Strengthened

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KIEV (Ukraine) – President Volodymyr Zelensky’s decision to embark on a series of overseas visits amid final preparations for a Ukrainian counteroffensive has won support from some residents of the capital Kiev on Friday, just hours after it was hit by the 10th attack. Obtained. this month.

The president’s recent trip — including visits to four European capitals over the weekend, Saudi Arabia on Friday, and scheduled to attend a major seven-nation meeting in Japan this weekend — is that Zelensky will: This was in contrast to much of the first year of the war, when such choices were made. The stay in Ukraine became a symbol of defiance and unity.

Now, residents interviewed on the streets of Kiev said they were encouraged by the warm welcome Mr Zelensky received abroad at a time when continued support from allies was critical.

“I think it’s great because he’s building bridges between all the countries,” said Neonira, 76, a former health worker. Like many people he interviewed for this article, he asked to use only his first name for fear of retaliation.

Throughout his diplomatic career, Mr. Zelensky has stepped up his support and asked for more weapons to fight Russian aggression. A flurry of visits to Germany, France and Britain last weekend brought in billions of dollars in new military aid.

“Every time his visit ends on a positive note,” Neonira said while buying vegetables from a stall in the city centre. “We have been given something.”

While few interviewees in Kiev appeared to be against the trip, others questioned Zelensky’s motives.

Liudmila, 75, said the trip was good for the president’s “appraisal” as she sat on a park bench in Kiev with a friend in the sun.

“He’s building an image of himself for future elections,” she said.

Katerina Papushya, sitting next to her baby daughter’s stroller in the park, said she supported the trip because some foreign leaders cannot or are afraid to visit Ukraine.

“I support his overseas visits because every visit is very productive,” she said. “Ukraine has some agreements, some support, some support.”

Papusha added that his close ties to those involved in the fighting made him pay particular attention to new arms announcements.

Most Ukrainian men have been barred from leaving the country since the war began, and the toll of nearly 15 months of fighting is being felt across the country. Volodymyr Pilipenko, 45, who was wounded in fighting in eastern Ukraine, said on Friday he had not followed Zelensky’s movements closely.

“I’m more worried about the situation on the front lines,” he said, standing outside the hospital smoking a cigarette.

But that doesn’t mean he thinks a wartime president should stay in office, he said. With a general in command of the army, Mr Zelensky can take charge of foreign politics, he said.

“If he does something good for Ukraine, it’s only a plus,” Pilipenko said.

Valentina Khorvakiova, 65, expressed a sense of urgency that international travel is “extremely needed now”, especially in light of the recent attacks on Kiev.

“If he travels more and talks to people higher up, perhaps peace will be established here, and perhaps we will be supported,” she says as she picks up her grandchildren from school. said while waiting for

Speaking about the “horrible” attack she witnessed in her 18th-floor apartment, Ms Horbakiova said Mr Zelensky’s solidarity in the capital meant nothing to him.

“What will change if he sits here? Won’t we be shelled?” she asked. “We’ll get hit just as much, and he might get hit more if he’s known to be here.”

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