Conflicts & War

Ukraine must win to protect European values, Zelenskyy tells EU lawmakers

Brussels, Feb 9 (EFE).- Only Ukraine’s victory against Russia will guarantee European values, president Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the European Parliament on Thursday during a whistlestop overseas trip to drum up further military support, including the provision of fighter jets, from Kyiv’s allies.

The Ukrainian president said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was an attempt to annihilate Ukraine’s “European way of life” and vowed that his country would become a member of the European Union.

“Only our victory will guarantee each of our European values,” he told MEPs in Brussels.

“The fate of Europe has never depended on politicians and that should not be the illusion now. Everyone of us matters, each and every one of you is strong, each and every one of you is capable of impacting and influencing our common result, our common victory,” he added.

He went on to thank the many Europeans who have supported Ukraine since Russia invaded nearly a year ago.

Ukraine applied for EU membership soon after the Russian invasion was launched almost one year ago exactly, and was granted candidate status in June last year as part of a fast-tracked process.

“For Ukraine, Europe is the way home. I am here to defend the way home for all Ukrainians, of all ages, social status and religious convictions,” he said.

Zelenskyy’s appearance at the European Parliament followed whirlwind visits to London and Paris, where he urged British prime minister Rishi Sunak, French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Olaf Scholz to provide Ukraine with fighter jets.

It was a rare overseas trip for Zelenskyy, who has left Ukraine only once – a December trip to the United States and neighboring Poland – since Russia’s invasion began on February 24, 2022.

Ukraine’s allies recently upped their military support for Kyiv with the provision of battle tanks but have so far fallen short of offering modern fighter jets.

Before Zelenskyy’s speech in Brussels, the head of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, urged member states to “consider, quickly, as a next step, providing long-range systems and the jets you need to protect the liberty too many have taken for granted.”

“The threat is existential,” she added. “We were with you then, we are with you now, we will be with you for as long as it takes.”

Following his address, Zelenskyy joined an extraordinary meeting with European leaders at the European Council headquarters.

In its daily report Wednesday, the United States-based think tank the Institute for the Study of War warned that Russian forces had “regained the initiative” in eastern Ukraine’s Luhansk region ahead of their “next major offensive.”EFE


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