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ARGENTINA | 10-12-2023 09:02

Zelenskyy arrives in Buenos Aires for Milei's inauguration

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy has arrived in Buenos Aires ahead of the inauguration of president-elect Javier Milei.

Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy has arrived in Buenos Aires ahead of the inauguration of Argentina's president-elect Javier Milei.

The Ukrainian Presidency confirmed Zelenskyy was "on the way to Argentina to attend the inauguration of newly-elected President Javier Milei" due to take place Sunday.

Images of Zelenskyy's Airbus plane on the tarmac of Ezeiza International Airport began circulating in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Video footage filmed by local citizens of his 19-vehicle convoy passing through the streets of Buenos Aires were also shared online.

Zelenskyy, who is making his first trip to Latin America, made stops in Cape Verde and Brazil before arriving in Buenos Aires at around 2am local time.

Zelenskyy's attendance at the inauguration is a boost for Milei, who is taking over the leadership of a nation that has one of the largest Ukrainian communities in Latin America.

It not only symbolises a diplomatic rapprochement between Argentina and Ukraine, but also a readjustment in foreign policy, seeking greater balance and diversification in international alliances.

A political outsider, Milei promised to uproot Argentina's political establishment and stormed the elections end-November.

Zelenskyy congratulated him, and both leaders spoke on the phone soon after Milei's election. The former then thanked the Argentine leader for his "clear support for Ukraine."

"This is well-noticed and appreciated by Ukrainians," Zelensky said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Milei's office published a statement after the call saying he had "offered that Argentina could be the host of a summit between Ukraine and Latin America."

Russia's Ambassador to Argentina Dmitry Feoktistov is also set to attend the ceremony, Russian state-run news agencies reported.

The Kremlin had "noted a number of statements that Javier Milei made during the electoral campaign", spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. 

"But we will focus on and judge him mainly by the statements that he makes after the inauguration," Peskov added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Milei for his victory, according to a Kremlin statement.

A number of other foreign leaders are set to attend the inauguration.

Spain's King Felipe VI, Hungary's Viktor Orban, Paraguay's Santiago Peña, Uruguay's Luis Lacalle Pou and Chile's Gabriel Boric are scheduled to attend, among others.

 

– TIMES/AFP/NA

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