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Zelensky hailed as hero at EU summit urges faster arms supply

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was hailed as a European hero upon his arrival in Brussels, urged EU leaders on Thursday to accelerate the delivery of promised modern long-range weapons.

The Ukrainian leader has warned he cannot return home empty-handed on his second trip abroad since Moscow launched a full-scale invasion less than a year ago.

With renewed Russian aggressive pressure on Kiev forces in the east, the former actor turned war leader urged allies to turn what he called “positive signals” into “concrete” terms.

After visiting London and Paris on Wednesday and lobbying Britain, France and Germany for modern fighter jets and long-range missiles, Zelensky flew to Brussels to address EU leaders and the European Parliament. .

MEPs treated him with cheers and standing ovations when he portrayed Ukraine as a country fighting to defend Europe’s eastern borders and urged a swift welcome to the EU’s fold.

“We are defending against the most anti-European forces in the modern world. We are defending with you Ukrainians on the battlefield,” Zelensky told parliamentarians.

After his parliamentary speech, Zelensky attended a regular summit with 27 leaders of EU member states as a special guest, inviting the President of the European Council to deliver an opening address.

“I must personally thank you for your unwavering support for our country and our aspirations, our aspirations to live in a united and free Europe,” he told them.

But he also warned its leaders that Ukraine needed to receive artillery, ammunition, modern tanks, long-range missiles and fighter jets “faster than the invaders”.

“For each weapon, there are positive signs,” Zelensky said after the meeting.

“I really hope that these signals move into concrete sounds, concrete voices, voices that Russia is not afraid to hear.”

– Kremlin Warning –

European Council president and summit organizer Charles Michel claims the summit allowed EU leaders to “make it clear that they are ready to provide more military support” bottom.

“The next few weeks and months will probably be decisive,” he said. “Now is not the time to tremble, but the time to cheer with all your might.”

But some EU leaders have been cautious about handing over the planes amid concerns that it could drag the West into direct conflict with Russia.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said there were “a lot of sensitive issues, strengths and weaknesses to discuss”.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said his country “won’t be the first to deliver fighters” but said he would welcome other countries to lead the way.

The Kremlin responded with its usual stern warning.

“This shows the growing involvement of Germany, Britain and France in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The line between indirect and direct involvement is slowly disappearing. spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

“The actions of these countries will lead to an escalation of tensions … make this conflict more painful … and these actions will not change our country’s objectives within the framework of special military operations.”

European NATO and EU powers have been major supporters of Ukraine’s beleaguered defenders, along with the US, since President Vladimir Putin’s Russia launched an all-out invasion on February 24 last year. .

EU leaders touted €67 billion ($72 billion) spent on military and financial aid to Kiev, including funds spent to host four million Ukrainian refugees.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has pledged new sanctions to punish Russia’s “propaganda” and bar Moscow’s exports worth 10 billion euros.

And she supported a ten-point peace proposal devised by Zelensky to prevent Ukraine from being forced to surrender.

– Peace Camp –

Both Macron and Scholz promised that Europe would support Ukraine until its final victory.

Arriving at the summit, Scholz told reporters:

“We can send this signal again and show that we will continue to support Ukraine in defending its independence and integrity as long as necessary.”

But one leader made a different sound. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the EU leader closest to Putin, did not applaud when Zelensky joined his colleagues for a group photo.

In a social media post, he said Hungary would send humanitarian aid to Kiev, but called for an immediate ceasefire, not a victory for Ukraine. .

In front-line eastern Ukraine, the governor of the Lugansk region warned that Russia was attacking Ukrainian forces near the town of Kreminna, “systematically destroying” three neighboring communities.

“We need more armored vehicles and ammunition for the offensive,” the statement said.

Moscow says Russian troops are advancing on Bakhmut and Vgledal. Bakhmut and Vgledal were his two key fighting centers in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, and are now the flashpoints of the war.

https://www.expatica.com/nl/general/hailed-as-hero-at-eu-summit-zelensky-urges-faster-arms-supplies-522919/ Zelensky hailed as hero at EU summit urges faster arms supply

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