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Ukraine’s Zelenskyy visits Argentina in a bid to win support from developing nations

Internashonal

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy visits Argentina in a bid to win support from developing nations


KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy traveled to Buenos Aires to witness the swearing-in on Sunday of Argentina’s new president, Javier Milei.

It is the Ukrainian leader’s first-ever trip to Latin America as Kyiv continues to court support among developing nations for its 21-month-old fight against Russia’s invading forces.

Milei welcomed Zelenskyy at the presidential palace after his inauguration. The two shared an extended hug, exchanged words and then Milei, who has said he intends to convert to Judaism, presented his Ukrainian counterpart with a menorah as a gift. They were expected to have a longer one-on-one meeting later on Sunday.

A political outsider who has railed against what he calls entrenched official corruption in Argentina and promised to uproot the political establishment, Milei ran on a pro-Western foreign policy platform, repeatedly expressing distrust of Moscow and Beijing.

Zelenskyy phoned Milei shortly after the Argentine’s electoral victory, thanking him for his “clear support for Ukraine” which he described in social media posts as “well-noticed and appreciated by Ukrainians.”

In its readout of the call published shortly afterwards, Milei’s office said he had offered to host a summit between Ukraine and Latin American states, a potential boon to Kyiv’s monthslong effort to strengthen its relationships with countries of the global south.

Zelenskyy and other senior Ukrainian officials have repeatedly presented Ukraine’s war against Russia as resistance against colonial aggression, hoping to win support from Asian, African and Latin American states that in the past struggled to free themselves from foreign domination, sometimes turning to Moscow for support against Western powers.

Zelenskyy used the trip to Argentina to meet leaders of several developing countries. He met the prime minister of the West African country of Cape Verde, Ulisses Correia e Silva, on his way to Buenos Aires. Once in Argentina, Zelenskyy met separately with the presidents of Paraguay, Ecuador and Uruguay, his office said.

“The support and strong united voice of Latin American countries that stand with the people of Ukraine in the war for our freedom and democracy is very important for us,” Zelenskyy said in a statement.

He also had a phone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron, discussing “the details of the next defense package from the French Republic, which will significantly enhance Ukraine’s firepower, and the current needs of our country in armaments,” Zelenskyy’s office said.

In other developments:

— Russian shelling over the past 24 hours killed two elderly women and wounded two more civilians in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region, local Gov. Oleh Syniehubov reported on Sunday morning. In a Telegram update, Syniehubov said that both women died in the same attack in the province’s east, parts of which run close to the front line and have seen intense fighting in recent weeks.

In the Kherson region in the south, Russian shelling on Saturday and overnight killed one civilian and wounded four others, local Gov. Oleksandr Prokudin said on Telegram on Sunday.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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Associated Press writer Débora Rey, in Buenos Aires contributed.



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