Zelensky holds talks with 3 European leaders
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal held a meeting with the prime ministers of Poland, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic, which concluded on Tuesday evening.
The talks concerned questions of intensifying sanctions against Russia in response to the military offensive, humanitarian aid for Ukraine, and the country’s potential EU membership, according to the Ukrainian prime minister.
According to the Polish PM’s office, the prime ministers arrived in Ukraine on Tuesday afternoon by train. Government spokesman Piotr Müller said the meeting was agreed upon after consultations with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
In a press conference following the meeting, Zelensky told reporters that “with allies like this we will win this war.” Shmyhal said, “the personal visit of the EU leaders was proof of boundless support for all Ukrainians” which will be “recorded in history textbooks.”
The three European leaders all expressed support for Ukraine during the press briefing and on social media. “Europe stands with you,” Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said, adding that the main goal of the visit was “to say to our Ukrainian friends that they are not alone,” and to assure the citizens that the Czech Republic would continue to provide support for refugees.
I'm pleased to be in Kyiv with other leaders to show our support for Ukraine and its people.We admire your brave fight. You're fighting for your lives, country and freedom.We know that you're also fighting for our lives. You're not alone, our countries stand by your side.— Petr Fiala (@P_Fiala) March 15, 2022
“We are here to admire your fight against such a cruel aggressor. This invasion has to stop,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said, calling on the EU to grant Ukraine candidate status and emphasizing Poland’s efforts in defending its neighbor state against aggression.
Europe must understand that if it loses Ukraine it will never be the same again. It will no longer be Europe. Rather it will be a defeated, humiliated and pathetic version of its former self. I want a strong and resolute Europe. pic.twitter.com/ENMRSDNuVU— Mateusz Morawiecki (@MorawieckiM) March 15, 2022
Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa sent a message for the EU ahead of the meeting, stating on Twitter that Ukrainians are defending European values with their lives, and that Europe has become more united than ever.
Together with @MorawieckiM & @P_Fiala we want to bring a message to 🇺🇦. Ukraine is an European country. Every path in 🇺🇦 is an European path. Soon, it will be an #EU path, too. For last two years we have been discussing on large #Europeanvalues. Mostly a theoretical debate. 1/4— Janez Janša (@JJansaSDS) March 15, 2022
Moscow attacked its neighbor in late February, following a seven-year standoff over Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to regularize the status of the regions within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.