European leaders visit Ukraine to talk EU prospects, pledge aids [Video]

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:


  • European leaders visited Ukraine on Thursday to express their support for Kyiv and Irpin
  • Leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Romania are backing EU candidate status for Ukraine.
  • President Volodymyr asked for tougher sanctions on Russia and additional weapons.

Four European leaders arrived in Ukraine on Thursday, a first and historic joint visit since the beginning of Russia’s invasion.

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi took a night train to the capital city of Kyiv amid Russia’s ongoing invasion. The three leaders crossed into Ukraine from the Polish border, according to La Repubblica.

“We’re here, focused, and we’re about to meet President Zelenskyy now to visit a war site where massacres have been committed, and then to lead the conversations that are scheduled with President Zelenskyy,” Macron told reporters at the train station in Kyiv.

Macron noted that the visit is “a message of European unity toward Ukrainians, and of support, [a message] about the present and the future because we know the weeks to come are going to be very difficult.”

Macron, Scholz and Draghi visited Irpin, the suburb northwest of the Ukrainian capital where Russian forces destroyed buildings and allegedly tortured and killed civilians.

While in Irpin, Macron praised the “heroic town,” noting also “the heroism of the army but also of the Ukrainian people.”

Scholz condemned “the brutality of the Russian war of aggression” and the ongoing invasion that has no regard for human life.

A French diplomatic official said that after the war is over, Moscow and Kyiv should have a dialogue “to find out how we build a sustainable peace,” with security guarantees for Ukraine, and the nature of the relationship between Ukraine and NATO.

The historic visit from the leaders of the three largest EU economies is seen as symbolic ahead of an EU meeting next week. EU leaders have to decide whether to approve Ukraine’s candidate status to join the union.

Macron, who visited Moldova on Wednesday, said he kept the door open on both Ukraine and Moldova’s prospects. “I want us to send a clear and positive signal, but we have to build unanimity among EU members. I don’t think we can dissociate Moldova from Ukraine in the prospects that we give,” he said.

“There’s no consensus for candidate status and there’s no consensus for no candidate status. But there seems to be consensus for a third way — candidate status with conditions,” a diplomat familiar with the topic told Brussels Playbook.

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, who took a different route, also arrived in Kyiv on Thursday to join the three leaders.

Source: Politico

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