>> From left, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and European Council chief Charles Michel arriving at the EU summit in Brussels, February 9, 2023.
Brussels – A free Europe is unimaginable without a free Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized today at the extraordinary summit of the European Union in Brussels. Unity is especially important for the security of the region, pointed out the president of the country which, with the support of Western allies, has been defending itself against the armed aggression of neighboring Russia for almost a year. Before the start of the summit, Zelenskyy spoke in the European Parliament.
Photo gallery: President Zelensky's visit to Europe
Today, Zelenskyi also welcomed the progress in Ukraine's accession negotiations with the Union and thanked for the financial, military and humanitarian aid packages provided. The presidents and prime ministers of the countries of the European bloc will discuss, among other things, further aid to Ukraine at a meeting in Brussels today.
“Welcome to the EU, welcome home,” said the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, at the beginning of the meeting, expressing his appreciation for the risk Zelenskyi took on his way to the West. Zelenskyi is a symbol of the courage of the Ukrainian people and has moved the country closer to the European Union, Michel added, reiterating the determination to help the attacked country.
In his speech, Zelenskyy praised the support so far, but called for faster decision-making, which would give Kyiv an edge over Moscow. Ukraine, with the help of its partners, has already made great strides, but much of the road to ending the war is still ahead of us, Zelenskyy said.
For the Ukrainian president, the visit to Brussels is the highlight of only his second foreign trip since the Russian attack on his country on at the end of February last year. He visited Washington for the first time at the end of December.
Zelenskyy began his current trip on Wednesday with a visit and negotiations in London, then in the evening he met with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Paris. He flew to Brussels with Macron this morning.
Zelenskyj in the EP: Ukraine is fighting the most anti-European regime in the modern world
Ukraine is fighting the most anti-European regime in the modern world and with its commitment it is also defending the European values, Zelenskyj pointed out in the European Parliament. The president of the country, which has been defending itself against the armed aggression of neighboring Russia for almost a year, began his visit to Brussels with a speech in front of MEPs. In the European Parliament, the president also thanked for the help that European countries provide to Kyiv.
Zelenskyj, who these days is only on his second trip abroad since the beginning of the Russian invasion, spoke in front of MEPs about European and Ukrainian values, against which, according to him, Russia is waging a “total war”. According to him, it also uses millions of Russians, whose lives have no value for Moscow; only as bodies capable of taking up arms. According to Zelensky, Russia also benefits from extensive reserves of weapons from Soviet times and aid in the form of supplies from dictatorial regimes such as Iran.
During his speeches and negotiations in London and Paris, i.e. the previous stops of the current European trip, Zelenskyy repeatedly appealed to allies regarding the supply of modern weapons systems, including aircraft. He did not do so today in the European Parliament.
In a short speech in which she welcomed the Ukrainian president, the head of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, called on the EU countries to quickly consider the supply of long-range systems and fighter jets, which Ukraine needs. She also assured Zelensky that Ukraine's future is in the European Union.
Zelensky also thinks so, according to whom Ukraine will become a member of the EU when it wins the war with Russia. “Thank you for defending us together,” said the politician dressed in a black sweatshirt, who was praised several times by the MEPs with standing ovations and thunderous applause. Already upon his arrival in the hall, Zelenskyj received a longer standing ovation from them. Some filmed it on their mobile phones on this occasion, while others came today with accessories in Ukrainian flags.