Among the foreign leaders to attend Javier Milei's inauguration in Buenos Aires, there were two who stood out from the rest. Topping the list was Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is highly dependent on assistance from abroad to fight off Russia's invasion, and the other was Jair Bolsonaro, who despite no longer being President of Brazil, was given a preferential treatment by Argentina's incoming government.
Milei's ceremony was attended by heads of state and government from Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Ecuador, Armenia, Hungary, Spain, and Ukraine, while that of Alberto Fernández in 2019 only welcomed leaders from Cuba, Uruguay and Paraguay.
Resuming a tradition last seen when Fernando de la Rúa took office in 1999, the new President rode a convertible car alongside his sister Karina from Congress to Casa Rosada, where he was greeted by foreign dignitaries, including the King of Spain, Felipe VI; Zelensky, and Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban.
Today, I felt that @JMilei truly wants strength for his country and honesty in international relations.— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) December 11, 2023
I thanked him for supporting Ukraine and invited Argentina to work together with us to restore peace. We also discussed our bilateral cooperation, which can strengthen… pic.twitter.com/zlDayFSEBs
Today, I participated in @JMilei’s inauguration in Buenos Aires and congratulated the new President, wrote Zelensky on X. This is a new beginning for Argentina and I wish President Milei and the entire Argentinian people to surprise the world with their successes, he added. I am also certain that bilateral cooperation between Ukraine and Argentina will continue to expand, he went on.
Today, I felt that @JMilei truly wants strength for his country and honesty in international relations. I thanked him for supporting Ukraine and invited Argentina to work together with us to restore peace. We also discussed our bilateral cooperation, which can strengthen economy and create jobs for both of our nations, Zelensky also posted.
This was a decent and bright meeting. I sincerely wish Argentina good decisions and steady growth. Let there be less poverty and more strength. And may freedom only become stronger, he concluded.
Zelensky also met in Buenos Aires with Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou. I met with President @LuisLacallePou to thank Uruguay and its people for supporting Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Ukrainian leader explained.
After Buenos Aires, Zelensky has an invitation from US President Joseph Biden to meet him at White House on Tuesday to discuss the new scenario in which US funding for Ukraine's war efforts might be halted. The two leaders will discuss Ukraine's urgent needs, White House Spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement Sunday.
The Ukrainian presidency said in its own statement that the meeting will focus on key issues such as further defense cooperation between Ukraine and the United States, particularly through joint projects on the production of weapons and air defense systems, as well as the coordination of efforts between our countries in the coming year.
Biden urged lawmakers to approve US$106 billion in emergency funding for Ukraine and Israel but to no avail. Republicans in Congress are willing to give Putin the greatest gift he could hope for, Biden said last week. This month, Putin signed a decree boosting Russian forces by 15% to support his invasion of Ukraine, increasing the army by some 170,000 troops.
Moscow has recently given signs about a possible peace deal, although one involving a shrunken, neutral Ukraine that would be impossible to swallow for Zelensky.