Zelensky thanks Ireland for continued support as Taoiseach backs Ukraine’s EU bid

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar pictured in his office during a phone call with President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, today. Photo: Government Information Service.

Eoghan Moloney

The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, has thanked Ireland for its ongoing support of his country in a phone call to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this afternoon.

The Taoiseach pledged Ireland’s continued support and solidarity to Ukraine and said Ireland is backing Ukraine’s application for EU membership. Ireland has so far welcomed close to 80,000 Ukrainian refugees since the beginning of the war 13 months ago.

Mr Varadkar also told the Ukrainian president that he is examining how additional help can be provided to help Ukraine to rebuild its civilian and energy infrastructure.

The Taoiseach also briefed President Zelensky about the many discussions he held with President Biden and others regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during his visit to the US last week, where he thanked the US for its steadfast support and encouraged them to continue it for as long as it takes.

President Zelenskyy extended his wishes for a happy St Patrick’s Day to Ireland, and wished peace and good luck to Ireland and Irish people in his call with Mr Varadkar.

The call came as the US announced a further €350m military aid to Ukraine while Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed Chinese leader Xi Jinping to Moscow. Kyiv called on China to use its influence to end the war in Ukraine

"Ukraine is following the Chinese President's visit to Russia closely," Ukraine foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said in a statement to Reuters shortly after Chinese leader Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow for talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"We expect Beijing to use its influence on Moscow to make it put an end to the aggressive war against Ukraine."

The EU today also unveiled a €2bn plan to send an additional one million artillery rounds to Ukraine over the next year by digging into their own stockpiles and teaming up to buy more shells.

Ukraine has identified the supply of 155 mm shells as a critical need as it engages in a fierce war of attrition with invading Russian forces. Both sides are firing thousands of artillery rounds every day.

Ukrainian and Western leaders have warned in recent weeks that Kyiv is burning through the shells more quickly than its allies can provide them, leading to a renewed push to send supplies and find ways to ramp up production.

With additional reporting from Reuters.