- By Laura Gozzi & Jaroslav Lukiv
- BBC news
Ukraine has no plans to strike targets in Russia, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in Germany, where Kiev received a major new defense aid package.
“We are not attacking Russian territory,” he said after talks in Berlin with Prime Minister Olaf Scholz.
“We are preparing a counter-offensive to liberate the illegally conquered territories,” Zelensky added.
Mr Scholz vowed to support Ukraine “as long as necessary”, promising arms supplies worth €2.7bn (£2.4bn).
This includes advanced German Leopard tanks and more air defense systems to protect Ukraine from near-daily Russian drone and missile attacks.
President Zelensky described the new wave as “the largest since the beginning of a full-scale invasion” of Russia in February 2022.
The war changed Germany’s attitude towards Ukraine, shifting from a reluctant supplier of military hardware to almost doubling its contributions overnight, the BBC’s Jenny Hill in Berlin says.
Russia accuses Ukraine of repeatedly attacking targets inside Russia, including an alleged attack on Moscow’s Kremlin earlier this month.
Ukraine denies the allegations, insisting that it has the legal right to use force and other means to fully liberate the territories currently controlled by Russia. These include four regions to the south and east, as well as the Crimean peninsula, which was annexed by Moscow in 2014.
Later on Sunday, President Zelensky will travel to the western city of Aachen to be presented with the prestigious Charlemagne Prize – an honor given for efforts to promote European unity.
Previous winners include Winston Churchill, Pope Francis and Bill Clinton.
President Zelensky flew to Germany from Italy overnight, his plane escorted by two Luftwaffe fighters.
In Rome, the Ukrainian leader met with Italian President Sergio, President Mattarella and Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. He also had a private audience with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
The Argentine pope said he did not stop praying for peace in Ukraine.
The Pope also stressed the urgent need to help “the most fragile, the innocent victims” of the Russian invasion.
Meanwhile, Ms. Meloni assured Mr. Zelensky of Rome’s support for a unified Ukraine.