Volodymyr Zelensky appealed to the European Union to “prove that you are with us” and help “light triumph over darkness” in an emotional address to the European Parliament after Ukraine’s membership application.
In the speech delivered via video link from Kyiv on Tuesday, the Ukrainian president said that his people, including those killed in missile strikes on Tuesday in Kharkiv, the country’s second city, are sacrificing their lives for European ideals in the fight against invading Russian forces.
We are strong, we are Ukrainians. We have a desire to see our children alive, and I think it is fair,” Zelensky said. Europe. “
He added, “We are just the same as you. So prove that you are with us. Prove that you are truly European, and then life will triumph over death and light will triumph over darkness. Glory to Ukraine.
The appeal came as the French Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, declared that the EU was “waging an all-out economic and financial war on Russia”, describing the sanctions packages as “very effective”.
He told France Info radio. “We will cause the Russian economy to collapse.”
The remarks were met with an angry response from the former Russian president and prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, who is now the deputy head of the Security Council of the Russian Federation.
And he tweeted: “Watch your tongue, gentlemen! And do not forget that in the history of mankind, economic wars have often turned into real wars.”
In Geneva, a number of diplomats walked out of the room when Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council via a pre-recorded video message, after a similar interruption of his speech at the nearby Conference on Disarmament.
Diplomats gathered outside the CD hall in front of the Ukrainian flag and applauded loudly. Applause was heard in the hall where Lavrov’s speech continued, and only a handful of ambassadors from countries including Yemen, Syria, Venezuela and Tunisia heard it.
Ukraine’s envoy to the European Union on Tuesday formally handed over an application for EU membership European Union To the French ambassador, whose country holds the rotating presidency.
Addressing the European Parliament members, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, the presidents of the European Commission and the Council respectively, Zelensky said that the EU “will be stronger with us, that’s for sure. Without you, Ukraine will be alone.”
The enthusiastic appeal was greeted with a positive and cautious welcome by the two leaders of the European Union institutions as they ascended to the podium at the forefront of the circulatory orbit of Parliament.
“The (EU government) council will have to seriously consider the symbolic, political and legitimate request that was made and take the appropriate decision in a firm and clear manner,” Michel said.
Von der Leyen said there is “a long way ahead”. “We have to end this war,” she said. We must talk about the next steps. But I am sure: no one on this bike could ever doubt that the people who stand so bravely for our European values belong to our European family.”
The path to membership will require the commission to provide a positive assessment of Ukraine’s potential candidacy, a process that can take up to 18 months. There will then be an indefinite transition period during which Ukraine will need to adopt the entire EU law.
Slovenia and Poland have called on EU member states to take “quick and courageous decisions” to ensure Ukraine can join the EU by 2030. But there is some skepticism in other capitals about the wisdom of further enlargement.
Zelensky told MEPs that he was talking to them in between the Russian bombings. “You know, I don’t read the newspaper, off the paper,” he said. “Because the time of paper in my country’s life is over.”
He added that today will be the last for some of those who are fighting for the freedom of Ukraine. “We are letting go of our best, strongest, most valuable people.”
“This morning was very tragic for us: two cruise missiles hit the city of Kharkiv, on the border of the Russian Federation,” he said. Can you imagine two cruise missiles falling on Freedom Square? Dozens were killed. This is the price of freedom.”
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