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Zelenskyy seeks to place Ukraine at home in the EU – POLITICO read full article at

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Ukraine is combating off Russian invaders to protect the European “way of life,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy proclaimed Thursday in Brussels, making an impassioned case for his nation to affix the EU.

“I’m here in order to defend our people’s way home,” the Ukrainian president mentioned from the lectern within the European Parliament, talking to a whole lot of EU lawmakers and prime officers in a whirlwind go to dripping with symbolism.

“This is our Europe, these are our rules, this is our way of life, and for Ukraine, it’s a way home, a way to home,” he mentioned. And that means residence, he mentioned, is the EU.

It was Zelenskyy’s first in-person handle in Brussels since Russia’s full-scale invasion final 12 months. And it got here as a part of a visit meant to cement Ukraine’s bond with the EU and Europe — the Ukrainian chief stopped off in Paris Wednesday night time after a go to to London earlier within the day. Kyiv is hoping to affix the EU in file time, in addition to persuade European nations to pledge extra superior weaponry as Russia prepares a renewed offensive.

In a speech that raised lawmakers to their toes and sparked a number of rounds of applause, Zelenskyy described a “Ukrainian-European way of life” underpinned by shared democratic and humanitarian values, whereas portray Russia as the alternative of every thing the EU stands for.

“We are defending from the most anti-European force of the modern world, we Ukrainians on the battlefield together with you,” he mentioned.

Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin sees its residents merely as “bodies capable of carrying weapons,” the Ukrainian president mentioned, accusing Russia of eager to take Europe again to the darkest interval of its historical past within the Nineteen Thirties and 40s.

Ukraine and the EU share not simply elementary values however a standard future, he argued. “Ukraine is going to be a member of the European Union,” he predicted.

After dashing off to attend a summit of EU leaders on the European Council, Zelenskyy’s tone turned extra demanding, as he urged governments to supply extra navy help, and quick.

“We need the artillery guns, the ammunitions, the modern tanks, the long-range missiles and modern fighter jets,” he advised the EU’s 27 nationwide heads of state and authorities.

Whereas a number of nations have agreed to supply dozens of superior tanks in current days, Ukrainian officers say extra weapons, together with fighter jets, are wanted because the battle grinds right into a second 12 months.

“We have to enhance the dynamics of our cooperation — we have to do it faster than the aggressor that tries to mobilize its potential,” he mentioned.

Zelenskyy additionally implored EU leaders to not decelerate on including sanctions concentrating on Russia, a troublesome topic for the bloc as sanctions fatigue — and even anti-sanctions sentiment — percolates in a number of locations.

“This is just the beginning,” Zelenskyy insisted. “We have to be more proactive.”

Ukraine within the EU

Zelenskyy’s whistle-stop go to to the Parliament was additionally a coup for the physique’s president, Roberta Metsola, whose crew had confronted criticism earlier within the week for allegedly leaking the small print of the journey forward of schedule.

The total honors had been laid out for the Ukrainian chief. A high-level delegation of Parliament officers together with Metsola, EU Ambassador to Ukraine Matti Maasikas, Parliament Secretary-Common Alessandro Chiocchetti and Metsola’s Ukrainian intern met him on the purple carpet. The Ukrainian nationwide anthem blared from the audio system.

Metsola was the primary chief of an EU establishment to go to war-torn Kyiv final April. Zelenskyy thanked her personally in his speech, whereas additionally extending gratitude to all EU residents who’ve supported Ukraine within the final 12 months.

Ukrainian trainees from the European establishments had been within the chamber, twice shouting again in unison, “Heroyam Slava!” (glory to the heroes) to Zelenksyy’s rallying cries of “Slava Ukraini!” (glory to Ukraine).

Some MEPs had been dressed within the colours of Ukraine’s nationwide flag, blue and yellow, whereas others held aloft posters declaring, “We stand with Ukraine.”

In a ultimate, theatrical second earlier than leaving the chamber, Metsola unfurled an EU flag, handed it to Zelenskyy they usually held it up collectively as MEPs cheered and clapped. “Ukraine is going to be a member of the European Union,” Zelenskyy mentioned.

Earlier in her personal speech, Metsola had echoed the prediction: “Ukraine is Europe and your nation’s future is in the European Union.”

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About Eddy Wax, Lili Bayer, Cory Bennett

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