Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy addressed the European Parliament on Thursday morning, proclaiming Ukraine “will join the European Union” and thanking the bloc’s members for their support during Russia’s invasion.
“Only our victory will guarantee our European values,” Zelenskiy said. He thanked the support give to Ukrainians by the people of towns and cities across Europe in this “historic battle”, prompting a standing ovation from the MEPs.
Mr Zelenskiy said a vision of joining the EU motivates them to stay strong and stay the course. Europe is defending itself from infiltration of Russian secret services, relieving itself of dependence on Russian gas, he said. Ukraine will be a member of a European Union that is winning, he added.
French president Emmanuel Macron, said Paris would “continue the efforts” to deliver arms to Kyiv, adding that France was determined to help Ukraine towards “victory, peace and Europe”. “Russia cannot and must not win,” he said, adding that “the future of Europe” was at stake in Ukraine.
The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, said it was clear that Moscow would not win, and assured Ukraine its future was in the EU, saying Ukraine was part of the “European family”. “Putin will not achieve his goals – not on the battlefield and not through a dictated peace.”
Mr Zelenskiy is expected to press allies to deliver more weapons and fighter jets “as soon as possible” and urge a speedy start to EU membership talks.
The Ukrainian president started the surprise tour of Europe on Wednesday with visits to Britain and France, marking just his second venture abroad since the Russian invasion almost one year ago.
Yesterday, Mr Zelenskiy travelled to France to meet Mr Macron and Mr Scholz. Earlier in the day he addressed the British parliament and met King Charles in London.
A senior Ukrainian official said the president would ask the EU summit for more arms – especially fighter jets and longer-range missiles – and for the EU to move quickly on Ukraine’s bid to join.
“The sooner Ukraine gets long-range heavy weaponry, the sooner our pilots get planes, the sooner this Russian aggression will end and we can return to peace in Europe,” Mr Zelenskiy said in Paris alongside the leaders of France and Germany.
Elsewhere, the Nato secretary general said Moscow is preparing a new offensive in the war.
During a press conference on Wednesday with US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, Jens Stoltenberg said: “Regrettably, we see no sign that Russia is preparing for peace. On the contrary, Moscow is preparing for new military offensives. So we must continue to provide Ukraine with the weapons it needs to retake territory, and prevail as a sovereign, independent nation.” – Guardian