Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, left, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz field media questions in Berlin on Sunday. ((Matthias Schrader / Associated Press))

Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, stated on Sunday that his nation is preparing a counteroffensive that will free Russian-occupied territories rather than attack Russian soil.

Zelensky stated that Ukraine’s objective is to liberate the areas that are inside its internationally recognised boundaries during a press conference that he had in Berlin with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

According to previously unreleased papers from a cache of U.S. intelligence leaks, Zelensky may have thought of trying to seize territory in Russia proper to use as negotiating chips in talks to terminate the conflict that Moscow started in February 2022. He would thus be at conflict with Western countries who have emphasised that the use of their weaponry to attack targets in Russia is strictly prohibited.

Zelensky responded, when questioned about the story, “We don’t attack Russian territory, we liberate our own legitimate territory.”

An official interpreter said that Assad stated, “We have neither the time nor the strength (to attack Russia).” “And we don’t have any extra weaponry with which we might do this. Based on our globally recognised, constitutionally established lawful borders, we are preparing a counterattack against the illegally seized regions.

The president of Ukraine is touring friends in search of new weapons to help his nation repel the Russian invasion and money to reconstruct what has been wrecked by more than a year of deadly fighting.

Zelensky was transported by a Luftwaffe aircraft from Rome, where he had visited with Pope Francis and Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni on Saturday, to Berlin.

He arrives in Berlin for the first time since the war began, a day after the German government unveiled a fresh $3 billion military aid package for Ukraine that includes tanks, anti-aircraft systems, and ammunition.

Zelensky praised Scholz for Germany’s political, monetary, and military assistance, noting that the nation is now the second largest donor to Ukraine just after the United States. Zelensky quipped that he is aiming to make Germany the largest donor.

“German artillery, tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, air defence systems are saving Ukrainian lives and helping us win. Germany is a trustworthy ally. After the meeting, he tweeted, “Together, we are bringing peace closer.

According to Scholz, Berlin has already provided Kyiv with almost 17 billion euros in bilateral aid, and more is to come.

He stated, “We will support you for as long as necessary,” adding that it is up to Russia to put an end to the conflict by pulling out its soldiers.

Germany has been one of Ukraine’s major arms suppliers after first being reluctant to give the country deadly weaponry, such as the advanced IRIS-T SLM air-defense system and Leopard 1 and 2 combat tanks. In order for Ukraine to be successful in its intended counteroffensive against Russian forces, modern Western equipment is considered essential.

In order to create a “fighter jet coalition” that would give Ukraine the combat jets it needs to oppose Russia’s air superiority, Zelensky said that one reason for his most recent travel to NATO capitals.

Germany has previously claimed that it lacks F-16 aircraft.Scholz mentioned the anti-aircraft system it had given Kyiv in response to inquiries regarding potential jet exports to Ukraine.

That is the area on which Germany is now focusing, he added.

Officials in Ukraine on Sunday denied any involvement in the downing of two Russian helicopters the day before in close proximity to the border.

Following their discussion, Scholz and Zelenskyy released a joint statement in which they expressed their support for efforts to bring those responsible for the atrocities in Ukraine to justice and mentioned the arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin issued by the International Criminal Court.

They also promised to keep sanctions against Russia in place and to look into the possibility of leveraging frozen Russian assets to make up for harm done to Ukraine.

Germany stated that it backs Kyiv’s ambitions to join the EU and supported a NATO member’s pledge made in 2008 to open the door for Ukraine to ultimately join the military alliance.

Zelensky initially met with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who had been shunned by Kiev last year, ostensibly because of his prior close links to Russia, which cooled diplomatic relations between the two countries. Steinmeier and Chancellor Olaf Scholz have both since travelled to Ukraine.

The two leaders travelled to the western city of Aachen for Zelenskyy to accept the International Charlemagne Prize, given to him and the people of Ukraine, after meeting Scholz and other top officials in the chancellery.

The prize, according to the organisers, acknowledges that their resistance to Russia’s invasion is a defence “not only of their country’s sovereignty and the lives of their citizens, but also of Europe and European values.”

Additional developments

According to Andriy Yermak, the main advisor to Zelensky, five people were killed in the Kherson area of southern Ukraine on Sunday when an unexploded Russian shell burst.

According to the Ukrainian military, Russia launched a “massive” strike on Ukraine overnight using explosive drones developed in Iran called Shahed.

The military said that although 18 of the 23 drones were shot down, the other drones and the debris from those that were intercepted caused damage to 50 apartment complexes, private residences and other buildings.

Additionally, Ternopil in western Ukraine and Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine were also rocketed by Russia, inflicting unidentified civilian casualties.

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