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Prove you are with us, Ukraine's Zelensky tells EU Parliament

01 March 2022, 18:56 CET
Prove you are with us, Ukraine's Zelensky tells EU Parliament

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky - Photo © European Union 2022 - Source EP

(BRUSSELS) - The EU Parliament at an extraordinary plenary session Tuesday voiced unwavering support for Ukraine against Russian aggression as it heard its President Volodymyr Zelensky's appeal via live videolink.

Debating Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Parliament's President Roberta Metsola said: "On behalf of the European Parliament, I condemn the Russian military aggression against Ukraine in the strongest possible terms and express my solidarity with all those suffering and all those killed."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, "in a break between missile strikes", that the Parliament and the EU's leaders must now "prove that the EU is with Ukraine. I speak today on behalf of the citizens of Ukraine who are defending it by paying the ultimate price", he continued."

Speaking on the day two Russian missiles hit Freedom Square in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city, killing dozens of civilians, he said: "This is the price we are paying for our freedom."

"We are fighting for our rights, our freedoms, our lives, and currently - for our survival. We are also fighting to be equal members of Europe. So now, prove that you are with us", he told MEPs. "Prove that you indeed are Europeans and that then life will win over death, and light will win over darkness. Glory to Ukraine."

At the session, European Council President Charles Michel assured MEPs that the Council will analyse the "serious, symbolic, political and, in my view, legitimate request" by Ukraine to join the EU.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: "This is a moment of truth for Europe. This is a clash between the rule of law and the rule of the gun, between a rule-based order and naked aggression. We cannot take our security for granted, we have to invest in it". She underlined that "if Putin was seeking to divide the EU, NATO and the international community, he has achieved the exact opposite."

in the debate that followed many MEPs emphasised how the Russian invasion of Ukraine marks the beginning of a new era for Europe and the world. They condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin's brutal aggression and expressed their admiration for how the Ukrainian army and people are resisting the assault, fighting for their country, freedom, democracy and common European values.

They also welcomed Europe's strong response to the illegal attack, such as the adopted sanctions packages, while stressing the need to remain united to continue to face the serious challenges ahead.

Some Members advocated acknowledging Ukraine's European aspirations and fight for freedom by stepping up the EU's work to grant the country EU candidate status. Others highlighted the importance of jointly addressing the repercussions that the sanctions on Russia will have on a European economy still recovering from a global pandemic, by way of ensuring support for countries most affected as well as for businesses and citizens. Finally, some pointed to the need to welcome Ukrainians fleeing war and to all EU countries sharing that responsibility.

Watch the debate (01.03.2022)

Statement on Ukraine by European Parliament's leaders (24.02.2022)

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