Zelensky attends presidential inauguration in Argentina seeking support for Ukraine

Argentine President Javier Miley gives a menorah to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the Casa Rosada presidential palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on December 10, 2023. Image shared by Ukrainian Presidential Press Service via Reuters

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky traveled to Buenos Aires to attend the swearing-in Sunday of new Argentine President Javier Miley.

This is the Ukrainian leader’s first trip to Latin America as Kiev continues to rally support from developing countries for its 21-month-long battle against invading Russian forces.

Miley received Zelensky at the presidential palace after his inauguration. The two hugged for a long time and exchanged words, and then Miley, who said he intended to convert to Judaism, presented his Ukrainian counterpart with a menorah as a gift. They are expected to hold a longer individual meeting later on Sunday.

An outsider politician who has criticized what he described as entrenched official corruption in Argentina and promised to root out the political establishment, Miley ran on a pro-Western foreign policy platform, repeatedly expressing distrust of Moscow and Beijing.

He watches: Voters in Argentina elect a far-right politician as president of the country

Zelensky phoned Miley shortly after the Argentine won the election, thanking him for his “clear support for Ukraine” which he described in his social media posts as “noted and appreciated by Ukrainians.”

In its readout of the call published shortly after, Miley’s office said he had offered to host a summit between Ukraine and Latin American countries, a potential boon for Kiev’s months-long effort to strengthen its ties with countries of the Global South.

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

Zelensky took advantage of the trip to Argentina to meet with leaders of many developing countries. He met with the Prime Minister of the West African nation of Cape Verde, Ulises Correa e Silva, on his way to Buenos Aires. Once in Argentina, Zelensky 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 fight for our freedom and democracy is extremely important to us,” Zelensky said in a statement.

Zelensky’s office said he also had a phone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron, where they discussed “the details of the upcoming defense package from the French Republic, which will significantly strengthen Ukraine’s firepower, and our country’s current weapons needs.”

In other developments:

Russian bombing over the past 24 hours has killed two elderly women and injured other civilians in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine, local governor Oleh Sinyhopov reported Sunday morning. In an update on the Telegram app, Sinyhopov said the two women were killed in the same attack in the east of the governorate, parts of which lie close to the front line and have seen heavy fighting in recent weeks.

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

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Argentine President Javier Miley gives a menorah to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the Casa Rosada presidential palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on December 10, 2023. Image shared by Ukrainian Presidential Press Service via Reuters

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