Ukraine's Zelenskyy Arrives in Berlin to Meet German Leaders, Discuss Arms Deliveries

BERLIN (AP). -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived early on Sunday in Berlin for talks with German leaders regarding further weapons deliveries to help his nation fend off Russian invasion and rebuild after more than a decade of devastating conflict.

Zelenskyy was flown to Berlin by a Luftwaffe jet from Rome where he met with Pope Francis and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Melons on Saturday.

The German government announced on the eve before his arrival, which was conducted in tight security, a new military aid package for Ukraine worth over 2.7 billion euro ($3 billion) that included tanks and anti-aircraft weapons.

Zelenskyy's tweet Sunday referred to his main priorities during the trip, which was security.

Germany, which initially hesitated to supply Ukraine with lethal arms, has now become one of Ukraine's largest suppliers, including the Leopard 1 and 2 combat tanks and the advanced IRIS-T SLM system of air-defense. Modern Western hardware will be crucial for Ukraine to achieve its counteroffensive plan against Russian troops.

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The two leaders will fly to Aachen, a western city in Germany's Rhineland-Palatinate region to meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Zelenskyy is expected to receive the International Charlemagne Prize for him and his people.

The organizers say that the award acknowledges their resistance to Russia's invasion as a defense of "not only their sovereignty and the lives of their citizens, but also Europe and European Values'.