Ukraine's Zelenskyy makes emotional appeal for EU membershipComments
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday that “a Ukraine that is winning” its war with Russia should be a member of the European Union, arguing the bloc wouldn't be complete without it.
Zelenskyy made his appeal during an emotional day at EU headquarters in Brussels as he wrapped up a rare, two-day trip outside Ukraine.
He received rapturous applause and cheers from the European Parliament and a summit of the 27 EU leaders, insisting in his speech that the fight with Russia was one for the freedom of all of Europe.
“A Ukraine that is winning is going to be a member of the European Union,” Zelenskyy said, building his appeal around the common destiny that Ukraine and the bloc face in confronting Russia.
“Europe will always be, and remain Europe as long as we take care of the European way of life,” he said.
He added that membership talks should start later this year, an ambitious request, considering the huge task ahead. Such a move would help motivate Ukrainian soldiers in their defence of the country.
“There is no rigid timeline,” warned EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
He held up an EU flag after his address and the entire legislature stood in sombre silence as the Ukrainian national anthem and the European anthem “Ode to Joy” were played in succession.
Metsola: Ukraine is Europe and your nation's future is in the European Union
Before his speech, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said allies should consider “quickly, as a next step, providing long-range systems” and fighter jets to Ukraine.
Metsola also told Zelenskyy that “we have your back. We were with you then, we are with you now, we will be with you for as long as it takes.”
A draft of the summit’s conclusions seen by The Associated Press said “the European Union will stand by Ukraine with steadfast support for as long as it takes.”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also said the bloc will send Zelenskyy “this signal of unity and solidarity and can show that we will continue our support for Ukraine in defending its independence and integrity.”