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President Zelensky: Foreign leaders visiting Ukraine “should not come empty-handed”

However, as of this morning in Hanoi, the White House and the US State Department still refused to comment on the visit of top officials.

Last week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that if an administration official visited Ukraine, the White House would not make that information public ahead of time, citing security concerns.

President Zelensky: Foreign leaders visiting Ukraine

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Photo: AP.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that leaders planning to visit Ukraine “should not come here empty-handed.”

Mr. Zelensky made the above comments when asked about what he expected from the visit of the US Secretary of State and Defense.

“Why is it important for leaders to come to us? I’ll give you a pragmatic answer; because they shouldn’t come here empty-handed. We’re not just waiting for presents or cakes; We are expecting specific things and specific weapons,” Zelensky said in an interview in Kiev on April 23.

“That’s why we should be able to reach an agreement with the United States or some part of the arms package that we agreed to earlier. This is why I believe this is a signal. positive,” he added.

“So are the leaders of other countries; they know we discussed these things in silence, as our diplomats say, it’s silent diplomacy. I don’t like it very much, but it exists,” Mr. Zelensky said.

“We would be happy to meet you, but give us the support we discussed, what you have or what opportunity you have.” “That’s why the visit from the US is so important,” he added.

The Russian side on April 23 announced an attack on an arms depot in the city of Odessa, which contains US and European weapons that aid Ukraine. Russia has said it considers convoys carrying Western arms aid to Ukraine a “legitimate target” for attacks.

In addition to the visit of the US Secretary of State and Defense Secretary, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is expected to visit Russia and Ukraine early next week. Mr. Zelensky expressed his dissatisfaction because Mr. Guterres will go to Russia first.

The visit by the two US officials will come after several high-profile visits by European leaders to the capital and moves to reopen evacuated embassies.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited and walked in parts of the capital Kiev with Mr. Zelensky on April 9, and European Union leaders visited KIev the day before.

The British government is expected to reopen its embassy next week, “depending on the security situation”. Earlier this month, the European Union said it was also restoring its diplomatic presence in the capital.

This shift came after Russia reoriented its focus away from the capital and to the south and east of Ukraine. Kiev has been preparing for weeks for a possible attack by Russian forces, forcing foreign embassies to close.

Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal, speaking at a press conference in Washington on April 22 also called on ambassadors from all countries, including the United States, to return to their embassies in Kiev.

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