Macron, Schulz and Draghi shown Ukraine ruins by Zelensky ahead of meeting

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, France’s President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz meet for a working session in Mariinsky Palace in Ukraine (REUTERS)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, France’s President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz meet for a working session in Mariinsky Palace in Ukraine (REUTERS)

EU leaders including Emmanuel Macron have been shown around ruined buildings and wrecked cars in Ukraine in a tour designed to highlight what the country says is large scale atrocities committed by Russian troops.

In the first such visit to the capital since Russia unleashed its invasion, France's Emmanuel Macron, Germany's Olaf Scholz, Italy's Mario Draghi and Romania's Klaus Iohannis, shook hands with Zelensky, who has not left Ukraine since war began.

The leaders have met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for a working session in Mariinsky Palace.

Up until now, the bloc has been criticised for not proving enough weapons for Ukraine since it was invaded by Russia in February.

Mr Macon has come in for particularly criticisms for his continual discussions with Russian president Vladimir Putin, and for showing a willingness to compromise with him.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron (AP)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron (AP)

Standing by gutted, burnt-out buildings, the leaders looked stern as they listened to a Ukrainian minister explaining what had happened there, PA reports.

They were shown the wreckage of a car which Ukraine says was targeted by Russian troops when a mother and children were inside. Russia denies allegations that its forces committed atrocities.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky poses next to Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz, France’s President Emmanuel Macron, Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Romania’s President Klaus Werner Iohannis (AFP via Getty Images)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky poses next to Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz, France’s President Emmanuel Macron, Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Romania’s President Klaus Werner Iohannis (AFP via Getty Images)

"It's a heroic city...marked by the stigma of barbarism," Macron told reporters.

The leaders, dressed in suits but not wearing any visible protective equipment, were surrounded by heavily armed soldiers.

Kyiv has accused France, Germany and, to a lesser extent, Italy, of foot-dragging in their support for Ukraine, saying they have been slow to deliver weapons and have put their own prosperity ahead of Ukraine's freedom and security.

 (Bundesregierung via Getty Images)
(Bundesregierung via Getty Images)

Asked about that criticism, Macron pointed to arms deliveries and financial support.

"France and Europe have been standing by Ukraine and its population since the beginning," he said.

Mr Zelensky’s speaks with Mr Macron (REUTERS)
Mr Zelensky’s speaks with Mr Macron (REUTERS)

Ukraine's bid to join the 27-nation European Union, and its demand for more weapons to fight off Russia, are expected to be two main themes of the EU leaders' talks with Zelenskiy, who did not accompany them to Irpin.

Shown a slogan on a wall of a damaged building in Irpin that said "Make Europe not war," Macron said: "It's very moving to see that. This is the right message."

 (Bundesregierung via Getty Images)
(Bundesregierung via Getty Images)

After the leaders spoke to Irpin's mayor and other officials, Draghi added: "Much of what they talked about was reconstruction. Words of pain, of hope, but also of what they want to do in the future."

The Kremlin said the leaders should use their time with Zelenskiy to take a "realistic look at the state of affairs" rather than discussing more arms shipments to Kyiv.

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of Russia's Security Council, mocked the visit as having "zero use" and having "promised EU membership and old howitzers to Ukraine".

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