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“I am here to defend the European way of life that Russia wants to destroy”


The arrival of the Ukrainian President to Brussels, Volodymyr Zelensky, in an unusual manner monopolized the meeting of the European Council which had been called at first without much substance. On Thursday afternoon Zelensky focused all his attention on the Council as he did in the morning on the European Parliament, before which he also intervened. In his speeches and, above all, in his bilateral meetings with various European leaders, Zelensky asked above all for heavy weapons for his army and tougher sanctions against Russia to prevent it from using its industrial machinery. They are all filled with epic arguments in which the Ukrainian has shown that he knows how to strike a chord and not just his repeated cries of “Glory to Ukraine!” with which he ended his speeches to community officials. “I am here – he said – to defend the European way of life that Russia wants to destroy” and to remember that “Ukraine belongs to Europe”.

The fact that Zelensky went to London before Brussels caused not so much upset as the fact that the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, had met him in Paris the day before. At least to the Italian Giorgia Meloni, who, upon her arrival in Brussels, complained about this gesture, which she considered “inappropriate”. Apart from these details, even the Hungarian Viktor Orbán, who is considered the most outspoken European leader in the war debate and also the only one who refuses to send arms to the Ukrainians, was able to talk normally with Zelensky at the advice meeting.

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For the Ukrainian president, who appeared in his now-traditional khaki dress, taking part in the European Council meeting appeared to be a prelude to what he imagines will be a chore if Ukraine is indeed a member of the European Union as he eagerly awaits him. . In this regard, he received nothing but congratulations on the speed with which some reforms are being implemented to bring Ukraine closer to its future partners, especially in the field of combating corruption. For the time being, the only certain thing is that at the end of the year, regardless of the outcome of the war, the commission will issue a report in which it will have to propose whether it believes that these achievements have been sufficient to start the accession negotiations, which in its view will be a very long process with inconclusive results. Confirmed.

For this reason, Zelensky was primarily interested in the issue of military build-up. Already in London he was promised tanks and possibly fighter jets. In Paris, he undoubtedly spoke with the German Chancellor about the Leopard tanks, which were expected to play a decisive role at the front. But in general, the details have been left in willful limbo, in part because Russia does not want to obtain such information by announcing the details, but also because not all countries have made concrete promises.

Wish List

And according to European sources, Ukrainians have very detailed information about what they need and who they can ask for. In their first request for support, at the start of the war a year ago now, European officials were surprised precisely because Ukraine had sent a request containing a detailed list of the specific items they needed and which country had them.

Now, Zelensky has given thanks for everything he’s received from the EU, which he’s running out of 67,000 million eurosBut he insisted on calling for more speedy arms deliveries. He said to them, “I personally thank you for this unwavering support of my country because you cannot think of a free Europe without Ukraine,” and he did not forget to remind them “how much we need artillery cannons, ammunition, modern tanks, long-range missiles and” combat” warplanes, as well as faster Possible time because “we have to go faster than the aggressor.”

European governments have long debated the issue of heavy weapons and their potential effects in war. And despite Zelensky’s visit, the issue of heavy tanks and fighter-bombers is still being handled with great caution. Parliament Speaker Roberta Metsola backed Ukraine’s request, saying that national governments “should now consider providing the long-range systems and fighters they need to protect that freedom that many here mistakenly believe is guaranteed”.

Nor has any specific progress been made on the tenth set of sanctions, for which the Chairman of the Committee announced, Ursula von der LeyenIt is only expected that it will influence public figures including proponents of Vladimir Putin’s regime who are dedicated to poisoning Russian public opinion, while progress is being made on the legal aspects allowing the use of assets confiscated from sanctioned persons for use in the reconstruction of Ukraine and in the trials he intends to bring. those responsible for the war to it.

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