Danish PM Frederiksen in Kyiv for talks with Ukrainian President Zelensky

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen arrived in Kyiv along with her Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez on Thursday for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in Ukraine along with her Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in Ukraine along with her Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez on April 21st. Photo: Pool Moncloa/AP/Ritzau Scanpix

“Government leader Pedro Sanchez has just arrived in Kyiv, where he will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen is travelling with him,” the Spanish government said. 

“After their talks the three leaders will meet the press,” it added.

Danish broadcaster TV2 reported on Wednesday that it had spoken with Frederiksen from the town of Borodyanka near Kyiv.

Frederiksen is the first Scandinavian leader to visit Ukraine since the Russian invasion of the country, which began on February 24th.

“We intend to send even more weapons to Ukraine. That’s what’s needed most,” she told TV2.

Denmark has previously sent 2,700 shoulder-mounter anti-tank weapons to the Ukrainian army.

“We are speaking about how we can contribute to rebuilding (Ukraine) after the war,” Frederiksen also told TV2.

Sanchez said on Wednesday he would convey to Zelensky the European Union and Spain’s “clear engagement… for peace”.

He said Spain would continue to work for an end to Russia’s war in Ukraine, while also sending “all the humanitarian and military aid needed” and taking in Ukrainian refugees.

Spain has taken in 134,000 Ukrainians, of whom 64,000 have received temporary protection, including accommodation and a work permit.

Madrid has sent about a dozen planes to Ukraine carrying “hundreds of tonnes” of weapons and humanitarian supplies, Defence Minister Margarita Robles said on Monday.

In another sign of support for Kyiv, Sanchez announced on Monday that Spain would reopen its embassy in the Ukrainian capital “in a few days’ time”.

The embassy suspended activity the day after the Russian invasion on February 24th for security reasons.

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UPDATED: Denmark’s government supports Ukraine EU candidacy 

Denmark’s government has said it will support Ukraine’s bid for EU membership after the European Commission deemed the country’s candidacy viable.

UPDATED: Denmark's government supports Ukraine EU candidacy 

Ukraine’s bid to be part of the EU got a majority backing in Danish Parliament on Friday after the European Commission backed the bid.

“It is really, really important that Europe opens the door for Ukraine, so that we can get started to ensure that Ukraine can be ready for EU membership,” foreign affairs spokesperson Michael Aastrup told newswire Ritzau.

Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said on Twitter that Denmark was looking forward to continuing cooperation with Ukraine on reforms.

The possibility for Ukraine to become part of the EU is conditional on Ukraine implementing reforms – on rule of law, oligarchs, human rights and tackling corruption – European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday. She added that “good work has been done.”

Candidacy status is a significant step to joining the EU but the whole process can take years.

“When a candidate’s status is granted, it is not the same as Ukraine being ready to join the EU. There are a large number of criteria to be met and there are a large number of outstanding ones that Ukraine lacks. These are some of the things that are being addressed”, Michael Aastrup said.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen will attend a meeting in Brussels next week where the recommendation from the European Commission will be voted and signed off by the EU’s 27 member states. France, Germany and Italy have also already backed Ukraine’s bid but the decision has to be unanimous.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has said that status as a candidate for EU membership is vital to his country, while the country’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba has said the question could be decisive in the war to defend Ukraine from invasion by Russia.

READ MORE: Number of Ukrainian refugees working in Denmark triples in one month