EU ‘stronger’ with Ukraine – Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called upon the European Union to “prove” it actually supports Kiev in the ongoing conflict with Russia. He addressed the European Parliament on Tuesday, appearing before the MEPs via a video link.
All the major cities of the country are currently “blocked” by Russian troops, Zelensky claimed, adding that the country’s military has been “fighting for our rights, for our freedom, for life, for our life, and now we are fighting for survival.”
“But we are also fighting to be equal members of Europe,” Zelensky said. “The European Union is surely going to be much stronger with us. Without you, Ukraine will be left alone.”
Prove that you are with us. Prove that you will not let us go. Prove that you are indeed Europeans and then life will win over death and light will win over darkness.
The president concluded his speech with “Glory to Ukraine!” – a slogan that is commonly used by hard-line Ukrainian nationalists. The MEPs responded with a standing applause, footage from the scene shows.
Zelensky’s speech in the European Parliament comes a day after he launched a formal EU membership bid, calling upon the bloc to accept the country as soon as possible. The calls for a fast-track ascension, however, were met with skepticism by top EU officials. While welcoming the European aspirations of Kiev, they said the potential admission was not something that could happen at once, pointing out that no fast-track ascension procedure even exists. EU top diplomat Josep Borrell, for instance, said that any membership bid could take “a lot of years.”
EU membership has been a common talking point for pro-Western Ukrainian politicians for decades already, yet little to no progress has been actually achieved. Joining the EU also was among the centerpieces of the 2014 Maidan events, which resulted in a coup that ousted the country’s democratically-elected government and ultimately sparked the conflict in Ukraine’s east.
The new push for EU membership comes amid a large-scale military invasion launched in Ukraine by Russia last week. The offensive remained the only option to protect the breakaway republics in the country’s east from Kiev’s attacks, Moscow has said, also vowing to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine. Kiev, however, said the attack was “unprovoked,” insisting it has had no plans to retake the regions by force.