Ukraine’s Zelenskyy to visit Belgium in string of security accords with allies

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will visit Belgium Tuesday to ink the latest in a string of security accords with Western allies, the Belgian prime minister’s office said Monday.

The Ukrainian leader is set to jet into Brussels from Spain as part of a whistlestop tour to several European countries in a bid to rally support for Kyiv.

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Zelenskyy will hold a press conference with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo after the two leaders sign a bilateral security deal.

Zelenskyy will also visit a military airbase in the Belgian capital, where he will meet instructors helping to train Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 jets.

Belgium has pledged to supply F-16 fighter aircraft to Kyiv as part of a broader initiative by European allies and hopes to begin deliveries this year.

Overall Brussels says it has committed 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) to providing military support for Ukraine since Russia’s 2022 invasion.

Spain on Monday pledged one billion euros in military aid to Ukraine as Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Zelenskyy signed their own security deal in Madrid.

Zelenskyy’s latest tour to allies comes as Ukraine is struggling to hold back a Russian ground offensive in the Kharkiv region, which has seen Moscow’s biggest territorial advance in 18 months.

After Belgium, Zelenskyy is then expected to head to Portugal.

With the Russian assault now in its third year, Ukraine has been pleading for more weapons for its outgunned and outnumbered troops, notably seeking help to address its lack of air defence systems.

The Ukrainian leader is also trying to whip up support for a peace conference due to be held in Switzerland next month, as Kyiv has rejected any push to invite Russia.

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