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Ukraine’s Zelenskyy heads to Argentina to win support from developing nations

Zelenskyy has repeatedly presented their war against Russia as resistance against colonial aggression
In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, meets with Cape Verde’s Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva, in Cape Verde, Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023 while he travels to Argentina for the inauguration of the newly-elected President Javier Milei. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via 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.

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 Argentinian’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 months-long 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.

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Karl Ritter, The Associated Press