The leaders of the three major countries of the European Union, Mario Draghi (Italy), Emmanuel Macron (France) and Olaf Scholz (Germany) called on President Volodymyr Zelensky (Ukraine) in Kiev.

All three have publicly urged for Ukraine to be granted the status of candidate state without delay, in view of its joining the European Union.

The three men reaffirmed their support for Ukraine, but were careful not to mention a "Russian withdrawal".

According to Die Welt, the three heads of state and government also privately pressed Ukraine to negotiate a quick way out of the crisis with Russia. Germany, France and Italy are suffering heavy consequences from the war and cannot afford to see it last.