The leaders of the European Union's three biggest countries, Germany, France and Italy, are expected to arrive in Kyiv on Thursday to show their backing for Ukraine amid the Russian invasion of the country, Reuters reported.
The visit by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has taken weeks to organize with the three men looking to overcome criticism within Ukraine over their response to the war.
The expected trip, which has not been announced for security reasons, comes a day before the European Commission is due to make a recommendation on Ukraine's status as an EU candidate, something the biggest European nations have been lukewarm about.
Speaking in Romania on Wednesday, Macron said it was time for Europe to reassure Ukraine over its EU ambitions.
"We are at a point when we need to send clear political signals, us Europeans, towards Ukraine and its people when it is resisting heroically," he said, without giving details.
Kyiv has criticized France, Germany and, to a lesser extent, Italy, for alleged foot-dragging in their support for Ukraine, accusing them of being slow to deliver weapons and of putting their own prosperity ahead of Ukraine's freedom and security.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to push his visitors to send more arms to help his hard-pressed army withstand the Russian invaders, according to Reuters.
On Tuesday, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister said her country has received just 10 percent of the weapons it requested from the West to help fight off the Russian offensive.
"From what we said we need, we got about 10 percent," Anna Malyar said in televised remarks quoted by AFP, saying the West should speed up its delivery schedule.
Earlier in the day, Zelenskyy again appealed for heavy weapons from the West, criticizing what he called the "restrained behavior" of some European leaders which he said had "slowed down arms supplies very much".
Ukrainian deputy head of Military Intelligence Vadym Skibitsky warned several days ago that Ukraine is close to running out of ammunition as the country’s forces continue to fight against Russian troops.
He said that donations from other countries were enough to supply artillery on the battlefield but that Ukraine was still at a disadvantage compared to Russia.
"Everything now depends on what [the west] gives us," Skibitsky said. "Ukraine has one artillery piece to 10 to 15 Russian artillery pieces. Our western partners have given us about 10 percent of what they have."