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Zelensky in Davos to shore up international support

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is travelling to Switzerland today, his office said, as Ukraine tries to ensure stable support from allies as the war against Russia nears its second anniversary.

Zelensky is due to “meet the heads of both houses of parliament, party leaders and the President of Switzerland, participate in the World Economic Forum” in Davos, a statement from the presidency said.

The announcement came hours after France and Germany reaffirmed their support for Ukraine in its war with Russia.

“We are in full agreement that we must support the Ukrainians for as long as necessary,” French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne told journalists in Berlin, alongside German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

Baerbock said they would remain “on the side of Ukraine as long as necessary, until Russia has withdrawn” from Ukrainian territory.

Sejourne’s visit to Germany came a day after he travelled to Kyiv to meet Zelensky, his first official trip in his new role as foreign minister – another clear signal to the international community.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had visited Ukraine just a day earlier, on Friday, announcing a fresh package of aid to the beleaguered country.

But the release of major blocks of funding, from Brussels and from Washington, have been tied up for political reasons.

The European Union is due to hold a meeting on February 1 to try to unblock the €50 billion aid package for Ukraine, vetoed by Hungary’s leader Viktor Orban in December.

The conflicts in Ukraine and in Gaza look set to dominate the annual Davos forum in the Swiss Alps, with Ukrainian officials trying to stave off war fatigue among allies.

National security advisors from over 80 countries held talks there yesterday based on Zelensky’s 10-point proposals for a lasting and just peace in Ukraine.

They were co-chaired by Ukrainian presidential aide Andriy Yermak, who heads Zelensky’s office, and Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis.

The talks were particularly focused on the criteria to end hostilities, the withdrawal of Russian troops, justice for crimes committed and the prevention of further escalation.

Cassis said talks had to find a way to “include Russia in the process” at some point, but thus far, neither Kyiv nor Moscow has been prepared to take such a step.

In Romania, truck drivers and farmers slowed traffic around several cities, including the capital Bucharest, Sunday, some actions temporarily blocking the northeastern border with Ukraine.

It was the fifth day of protests over a range of issues, some of them related to the war in Ukraine.

Among their grievances are long waiting times at the borders and the slow payment of subsidies and compensation for those affected by the disruption caused by the import of Ukrainian cereals.

Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s seaports on the Black Sea has transformed Romania into a hub for the transit of Ukrainian grain, especially through the port of Constanta.

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