The coming weeks and months will be decisive for the Russian war against Ukraine, European Council President Charles Michel said during his visit to Kyiv on 19 January.
Addressing members of the Verkhovna Rada, he said: “You need more. More air defence systems, more long-range missiles and ammunition and, most of all, you need tanks. Right now.”
In Kyiv, Charles Michel also met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, and visited a veteran centre funded with EU support. They discussed the forthcoming EU-Ukraine summit in early February, which will focus on EU support for Ukraine, both in its opposition to Russia and on its path towards the European Union.
“I dream that one day, soon I hope, a Ukrainian will hold my job as President of the European Council, or as President of the European Parliament, or the Commission,” Michel said to Ukranian parlamentarians. “With the Maidan uprising, 22 years after gaining your independence, Ukrainians said: ‘We are European’. So today, I have come to Ukraine to tell you: ‘We are all Ukrainian’.”
Michel reminded that the EU has provided a safe haven for millions of Ukrainian refugees and committed nearly €50 billion so far to assist Ukraine, of which €18 billion are guaranteed budget support for 2023. The EU has also mobilised a total of €11 billion in military support and is training 15,000 soldiers (through its military training mission). The EU’s Solidarity Lanes have allowed the export of 45 million tonnes of Ukrainian goods.
“There can be no independent and safe Europe without an independent and safe Ukraine. There can be no free Europe without a free Ukraine,” concluded Michel.
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