Day 446 of the Invasion of Ukraine: The EU expects China to influence Russia to End the War

Ukraine | May 15, 2023, Monday // 10:33|  views

Day 446 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:

  • Stoltenberg expects a program to bring Ukraine closer to NATO's military standards
  • Rishi Sunak: Britain is unwavering in its support for Ukraine in its war against Russia
  • Moldova is leaving a major structure in an organization of the former Soviet bloc
  • Von der Leyen will support the creation of a tribunal for the crime of aggression
  • The EU expects China to influence Russia to end the war in Ukraine
  • Prigozhin proposed to Ukraine to reveal the positions of Russian forces
  • Drones hit the Russian military transport base Seshcha
  • The G-7 and the EU are preparing a ban on the resumption of supplies through Russian gas pipelines
  • Zelensky called for a positive decision on Ukraine's NATO membership in July
  • Cyril Ramaphosa: With its policy of neutrality, the RSA does not place Russia above other countries
  • Kyiv: The Bakhmut offensive is the first success, the defense of the city continues
  • Wagner's boss suggests Russia may have shot down its own warplanes
  • Zelensky is in Great Britain, London has promised long-range drones to Ukraine
  • France will send dozens of armored vehicles to Ukraine
  • Germany promised full support for Ukraine's accession to the EU

Stoltenberg expects a program to bring Ukraine closer to NATO's military standards

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he expects the allies to agree on a multi-year program to help Ukraine advance to NATO military standards at a July summit in Vilnius, Reuters reported.

"I expect that we will agree on a multi-year program in which we will work on how to help Ukraine move from Soviet-era standards, doctrines and equipment to NATO standards, doctrines and equipment and become fully interoperable with NATO," said Stoltenberg during the Copenhagen Democracy Summit via video link.

"This will also help Ukraine move towards NATO membership," he added.

Earlier, Zelensky made a call for NATO to take a "positive political decision" on Kyiv's bid for membership at a summit in July.

Stoltenberg also said he plans to step down as NATO secretary general when his term ends in October.

Rishi Sunak: Britain is unwavering in its support for Ukraine in its war against Russia

Rishi Sunak said Britain was unwavering in its support for Ukraine in its war against Russia. This statement came during a surprise visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in an attempt to secure additional military aid before launching a counteroffensive against Russian forces.

Volodymyr Zelensky landed at the summer residence of Rishi Sunak "Chequers" with a military helicopter "Chinook". His stay there lasted about two hours.

The two statesmen gave a short joint press conference, also answering questions from journalists.

Even before the visit, Britain had promised to send new attack drones with a range of more than 200 kilometers, air defense missiles and long-range cruise missiles. All this was officially confirmed by Rishi Sunak.

Volodymyr Zelensky is trying with his "shuttles" in Europe to ensure, among other things, what he calls a "reactive coalition" or the provision of modern fighter jets by the West so that Ukraine can control its skies.

Rishi Sunak responded diplomatically to this request, saying that his country was unwavering in its support for Ukraine, but creating such a "reactive coalition" of countries required more than just providing fighter jets, because more pilot training was needed and a lot logistics, but stressed that in this respect Britain could be a key partner.

Asked about the Kremlin's negative reaction to the new British military aid, Sunak said:

"I think it's important for the Kremlin to know that we are not going to back down. We are unwavering in our support for Ukraine – not only now to help it take back the seized territories, but also in the long term to make sure that Ukraine has the necessary means to defend itself in the future".

The Island's statisticians note that Great Britain provides the largest military aid to Ukraine of all other European countries.

Volodymyr Zelensky was the first foreign leader to be welcomed to Chequers by Rishi Sunak since he became British Prime Minister.

Moldova is leaving a major structure in an organization of the former Soviet bloc

Moldova has launched a withdrawal procedure from the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the leading inter-state organization in the post-Soviet space.

"CIS is an organization created by Russia," said the Speaker of the Parliament, Igor Grosu. "We can no longer be at the (same) negotiating table." According to him, after the start of the war in Ukraine, there is no way to talk about a community, writes RBC.

The CIS unites most of the former Soviet republics after the collapse of the Soviet Union with the exception of the Baltic states, Ukraine, Turkmenistan and Georgia (which left after the 2008 war with Russia).

The country has already recalled its representative to the CIS in February, Ion Lipchiu. Delegations do not participate in the meetings of the organization's structures, and Chisinau has given up the co-presidency and the implementation of the "cultural capital" program of the CIS, which was supposed to be in Comrat in 2023. Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu said he saw no benefit to participating in the CIS.

The Inter-Parliamentary Assembly was established in 1992 and deals with model bills that are recommended to national parliaments.

Another task of the Interparliamentary Assembly is the formation of the legal foundations of the common economic space of the CIS. Among the activities are monitoring of elections and referendums, peacekeeping activities, international cooperation and others.

Von der Leyen will support the creation of a tribunal for the crime of aggression

The EU will announce the creation of a register of the damage caused by the Russian aggression in Ukraine, announced the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.
This will happen at the two-day meeting of the Council of Europe in Reykjavik, which starts tomorrow. The registry will be in The Hague.
"This will be a first step towards compensation from Russia," Von der Leyen pointed out. The forum in Reykjavik will discuss how to hold the Kremlin accountable. Von der Leyen confirmed that she would support the creation of a special tribunal for the crime of aggression.

The EU expects China to influence Russia to end the war in Ukraine

"It is very good that 14 months after the start of the war in Ukraine, Chinese President Xi Jinping called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky", said today European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at a joint press conference with European Council President Charles Michel.

According to her, China undoubtedly has influence over Russian President Vladimir Putin. "As part of the UN Security Council, China has the responsibility to get Russia to end the war. We must work on the basis of President Zelensky's peace proposal", Von der Leyen added. "We will continue to urge Beijing to refrain from supporting the war", she added.

The President of the EC pointed out that it is necessary for the EU to limit its economic dependence on China, for example in the import of raw materials. According to her, the EU plans to introduce monitoring of European investments in the Asian country, as well as to protect the export of technologies that may later prove to be decisive for achieving or maintaining military superiority.

"Any peace plan for Ukraine must be based on the UN Charter, only Ukraine can judge when negotiations are possible", Charles Michel pointed out. According to him, after the EC gave an assessment of Kyiv's readiness to start negotiations on joining the EU in October, he will put the matter before the European Council.

Von der Leyen said that EU countries are discussing the possibility of restricting the export of goods that are observed to be reaching Russia in violation of the sanctions. She specified that in recent months there has been a clear increase in the export of some European goods to countries outside the EU.

The chairman of the EC explained that 60 percent of Ukrainian agricultural exports are carried out by land, and the remaining 40 percent are transported through the Black Sea. Von der Leyen noted that Russia is constantly trying to block the sea route.

On the occasion of the elections in Turkey, Von der Leyen and Michel expressed satisfaction with the high voter turnout. "This is good news and shows that Turkish citizens exercise their rights and value democratic institutions", Von der Leyen said. "We are watching very carefully, we have to wait for the results of the second round", she added.

Prigozhin allegedly proposed to Ukraine to reveal the positions of Russian forces

The head of the private military company "Wagner" Yevgeny Prigozhin proposed to Ukraine to disclose the positions of Russian forces.

In return, the businessman wanted the Ukrainians to leave Bakhmut - the city that the mercenaries have been persistently trying to capture since July 2022 at the cost of thousands of victims.

Prigozhin offered his deal in January 2023 to his contacts in the General Intelligence Directorate (GRU) of Ukraine, with whom he maintained secret communications during the war, according to leaked US intelligence documents, The Washington Post reported.

The businessman is publicly at odds with the official leaders of the Russian offensive - Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the head of Russian troops in Ukraine Valery Gerasimov. Prigozhin accuses them of deliberately not providing ammunition to the "musicians".

The Wagner boss is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who may perceive Prigozhin's offer to sacrifice Russian soldiers as a betrayal.

It is not clear from the leaked document which positions of the Russian troops Prigozhin proposed to reveal.

Two Ukrainian officials confirmed to the "Washington Post" that Prigozhin spoke several times with GRU. One of them notes that the businessman made the offer to Bakhmut more than once. Kyiv rejected him, as the Ukrainian authorities do not trust the head of "Wagner".

In an interview with The Washington Post this month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky did not confirm whether contacts were maintained with Prigozhin.

"It's an intelligence matter," he said.

Drones hit the Russian military transport base Seshcha

Several unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) struck Russia's Seshcha air base, 150 km north of the Ukrainian border, on May 3, British military intelligence reported today. An Antonov-124 heavy transport aircraft of the Russian Military Transport Aviation was probably damaged.

Seshcha is the military aviation center in western Russia and played an important role in providing the conditions for Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Russia also uses the facility to launch Iranian-made one-way strike drones towards Kyiv, the analysis added.

The Military Transport Aviation is a well-resourced element of the Russian Air Force that is essential for transportation across the vast country. Russian leaders will be troubled by the fact that Russian air defenses continue to be compromised, putting key strategic assets such as MTA bases at risk, the intelligence said.

The G-7 and the EU are preparing a ban on the resumption of supplies through Russian gas pipelines

The G7 and the European Union will ban Russian gas imports along routes where Moscow has restricted supplies, according to officials involved in the talks. For the first time since the invasion of Ukraine, gas trade through pipelines has been blocked by Western powers, writes the Financial Times.

The decision, to be finalized by G7 leaders at a summit in Hiroshima this week, would prevent the resumption of Russian gas exports via pipelines on routes to countries such as Poland and Germany, where Moscow cut off supplies last year and sparked an energy crisis in Europe.

One of the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the move was "to ensure that the partners do not change their mind in a hypothetical future".

A draft G7 statement seen by the Financial Times said the group of leading economies would further reduce the use of Russian energy sources, "including by preventing the reopening of roads previously closed by Russia, using energy as a weapon", at least until "a solution to the conflict is reached".

While the measures are unlikely to affect immediate gas flows, they underline the deep determination in Brussels to make permanent the swift and painful break away from decades of dependence on Russian energy.

The ban is highly symbolic, as at the start of the war the EU avoided imposing sanctions on pipeline flows given Moscow's huge dependence on gas. Russia cut supplies anyway, causing gas prices to jump to more than 10 times their usual level. But prices have fallen significantly in recent months as Europe successfully curbed winter demand, accelerated the uptake of renewable energy and found alternative supplies, such as seaborne LNG cargoes.

Moscow's share of European gas imports has fallen from more than 40 percent to less than 10 percent, and a mild winter has increased stocks in EU gas storage facilities.

Oil pipelines to which Russia has cut supplies, including the northern part of the Druzhba pipeline that supplies refineries in Germany and Poland, could also be blocked under EU measures to prevent resumption of flows.

The embargo is being discussed by diplomats as part of the EU's 11th package of sanctions. The European Commission said it would not comment on sanctions discussions or leaks.

An EU diplomat commented that the proposal needs more clarification from Brussels to show how the "status quo" will change, especially given that part of the flows from Kazakhstan flow through Druzhba.

Berlin and Warsaw, although exempt from sanctions on Russian oil, said they would voluntarily end crude supplies through Druzhba last year, although Poland continued to receive supplies until Russia cut them off in February. German refiners have stopped ordering Russian crude since the beginning of this year.

Zelensky called for a positive decision on Ukraine's NATO membership in July

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a new appeal to NATO to take a "positive political decision" on Kyiv's bid for membership at the summit in July, Reuters reported.

Ukraine's Western partners provided it with weapons to fight the Russian invasion. But Kyiv wants stronger security guarantees for the future and hopes to join NATO. The alliance is due to hold a summit in Vilnius in July.

"It is time to remove the biggest security uncertainty in Europe, that is to support a positive political decision for (Ukraine's) NATO membership," he said in a video address to the Copenhagen Democracy Summit.

"This is worth doing already at the summit in July. It will be a timely signal," he added.

Zelensky is on a tour of European capitals to drum up support ahead of an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive.

Earlier today, the British government announced that Zelensky had arrived in Great Britain. He visited Berlin, Rome and Paris over the weekend.

Cyril Ramaphosa: With its policy of neutrality, the RSA does not place Russia above other countries

The President of the Republic of South Africa (RSA) Cyril Ramaphosa said that with his position of neutrality, his country does not place Russia above other countries and once again called for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Ukraine, Reuters reported.

His remarks - part of the president's weekly bulletin - came days after the US said the Russian ship "Lady R" was loaded with weapons at a port in Cape Town late last year.

South Africa officials quickly dismissed the claims by US Ambassador Reuben Brigety, who also said US officials had "deep concerns" about South Africa's neutrality policy on the war in Ukraine.

"We do not accept claims that our position of neutrality puts Russia above other countries. We do not think that this should jeopardize our relations with other countries," Ramaphosa emphasized.

The South African Republic will continue to respect the international agreements and treaties it has signed and its approach to the American allegations of arms supplies will be consistent with this, added the South African president.

Ramaphosa's office said there was no concrete evidence of the US ambassador's claims, but that an investigation would be conducted under the supervision of a retired judge.

"I am grateful for the opportunity to speak with Foreign Minister Pandor /…/ and correct the wrong impressions left by my public comment," the American ambassador wrote on Twitter, without, however, confirming the information that he had apologized.

Kyiv: The Bakhmut offensive is the first success, the defense of the city continues

The defense of Bakhmut continues and recent days have shown that Ukraine can advance and counter Russian forces there, Ukrainian ground forces commander Gen. Alexander Sirsky, quoted by AFP and Reuters.

"The advance of our troops in the direction of Bakhmut is the first successful offensive operation in the defense of the city," Sirsky was quoted as saying on the Telegram channel of the Ukrainian military center “Media”, marking the first successes of the Ukrainian offensive. "The last few days have shown that we can move forward and destroy the enemy even in such extremely difficult conditions," he stressed.

"The operation to protect Bakhmut continues. All necessary decisions for defense have been taken," added the senior Ukrainian military official.

Russia's plans to capture the besieged eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut remain unchanged and new assault forces are being sent to its outskirts, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said in a statement that was also published on Telegram.

Wagner's boss suggests Russia may have shot down its own warplanes

The head of Russia's private army, Wagner, suggested that four Russian military jets that reportedly crashed in a region bordering Ukraine may have been shot down by Russian forces, the Associated Press reported.

Russian officials have not commented on reports in Russian conventional and social media that two Su-34 and Su-35 fighter jets and two Mi-8 military helicopters crashed in the Bryansk region on Saturday.

State news agency TASS cited unspecified sources from emergency services as saying that the Su-34 and a helicopter had crashed. Other sources, including Vladimir Rogov, head of a Russian collaborationist organization in Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia region, said four planes had gone down.

They all reportedly belonged to the same air force group.

During the war, cross-border shelling repeatedly hit Bryansk, which borders Ukraine's Chernihiv and Sumy regions. Authorities there say unexplained explosions also derailed two freight trains and that in March an armed group entered the region from Ukraine and killed two civilians.

The reported crashes raise concerns about Ukraine's ability to strike Russia and about Russia's military competence, AP notes.

Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuriy Ikhnat denied on Sunday that Ukraine was involved in the downing of the plane. Speaking on Ukrainian television, he suggested that Russia itself might be responsible, but later retracted his remark, saying it was an attempt at a joke.

However, the head of "Wagner" Yevgeny Prigozhin expressed a similar hypothesis.

Four planes - if you draw a circle in the places of their fall, it turns out that this circle has a diameter of 40 kilometers. Now go to the Internet and see what anti-aircraft weapon can be located in the center of this circle, and then create your own versions,” Prigozhin said on Telegram on Sunday.

Prigozhin, whose forces are in the midst of a grueling month-long battle for the city of Bakhmut, said he was not "in the know" of the situation. But he has repeatedly criticized the Russian military for its strategy in Ukraine and for allegedly not supplying "Wagner" with the ammunition it needs in Bakhmut, AP reminds.

According to the government in Kyiv, quoted by DPA, Ukrainian forces are gaining ground in Bakhmut.

"Our units captured more than 10 enemy positions north and south of Bakhmut and cleared a large forest area near Ivanivske," Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar wrote in Telegram on Sunday. According to her, Russian soldiers were captured during the operation.

The Ukrainian army continues to advance, Maliar said. This is the moment when one meter is equal to 10 km in terms of the complexity of the task, pointed out the Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine.

Despite recent Ukrainian successes, the situation in Bakhmut remains tense, she said, as the Russian army is putting up stubborn resistance. "The enemy has gathered all his forces there and is trying to advance, destroying everything in his path," the Ukrainian representative wrote on Telegram. "Fierce fighting continues."

In recent days, the Ukrainian army has managed to regain territory around Bakhmut, which has been at the center of fierce fighting for months. Kyiv’s forces can now surround the fighters of the private Russian mercenary group "Wagner" who are stationed in the city, DPA said.

Zelensky is in Great Britain, London has promised long-range drones to Ukraine

Britain will send hundreds of new long-range drones to Ukraine, the British government announced, after President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in the country for talks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Reuters reported.

"The Prime Minister will today confirm the UK's further provision of hundreds of air defense missiles and additional unmanned aerial systems, including hundreds of new long-range attack drones with a range of over 200km," the government said in a statement.

According to him, "all of them will be delivered in the coming months as Ukraine prepares to strengthen its resistance against the ongoing Russian invasion."

Zelensky will meet Sunak in Britain on Monday as part of a tour of several key European allies ahead of an expected Ukrainian counter-offensive against Russian forces.

Last week, Britain became the first country to begin supplying Ukraine with long-range cruise missiles.

Zelensky visited Berlin, Rome and Paris over the weekend to meet with European leaders as he seeks to secure additional military and financial support for Ukraine.

"Today - London. The UK is a leader when it comes to expanding our capabilities on land and in the air. This cooperation will continue today," Zelensky said on Twitter. "I will meet with my friend Rishi. We will conduct substantial negotiations face-to-face and in delegations," he added.

The British government announced that Zelensky had arrived in Britain.

"This is a decisive moment in Ukraine's resistance to a terrible war," Sunak said in a statement.

"They need the continued support of the international community to protect themselves from the relentless and indiscriminate attacks that have been a daily reality for them for more than a year."

After the United States, Britain is one of the biggest providers of military aid to Ukraine, providing support worth 2.3 billion pounds (.9 billion) last year and pledging a similar amount for 2023.

France will send dozens of armored vehicles to Ukraine

France will send dozens of armored vehicles and light tanks to Ukraine in the coming weeks, including AMX-10RCs armored fighting vehicles, Reuters reported, citing a joint statement made after French President Emmanuel Macron's talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in Paris.

After a working dinner of the two presidents, which lasted more than three hours, the Elysee Palace announced that France is also concentrating efforts to support Ukraine's air defense capabilities, BTA notes.

Ukraine's president made a surprise visit to Paris last night after visiting key European allies at the weekend to drum up military and financial support ahead of an expected major counter-offensive against Russian forces.

After securing three billion dollars in new military aid from Germany, Zelensky said in Berlin that Kyiv and its allies would win an "irreversible" victory over Russia this year.

Macron assured Zelensky that Paris would continue to provide political, financial, humanitarian and military support to Ukraine as needed, according to a statement after the meeting, cited by Reuters.

A source from the French presidency told journalists that Ukraine may be provided with more advanced defense systems.

There is currently no question of sending fighter jets to Kyiv, as requested, the source said.

French combat vehicles AMX-10RCs can develop high speeds and are maneuverable, allowing them to move quickly on the battlefield and change their positions. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov calls them "snipers on fast wheels."

France has also promised Zelensky training of soldiers and other assistance, AP adds.

Paris has set out to train around 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers on its soil and nearly 4,000 others in Poland this year as part of a wider European initiative, Macron's office said.

In a tweet upon his arrival in France, the Ukrainian president wrote: “With each visit, Ukraine's defensive and offensive capabilities expand. The ties with Europe are getting stronger and the pressure on Russia is increasing."

France sent a plane to pick up Zelensky from Germany, where he met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and discussed Kyiv’s planned counteroffensive. Zelensky said his goal was to liberate the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine according to its internationally recognized borders, not to attack Russian territory.

Germany promised full support for Ukraine's accession to the EU

The ceremony for presenting the "Charlemagne" award to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky began today yesterday an hour late in the western German city of Aachen, DPA reported.

After much speculation about whether the Ukrainian president would attend the event in person, Zelensky entered the medieval hall of the town hall in the afternoon with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, receiving a standing ovation from the waiting guests.

This year, the prestigious "Charlemagne" award for work in the service of European unification was awarded to Zelensky and the Ukrainian people for the protection of European values while repelling the Russian invasion in their country, DPA recalls.

In his speech in Aachen at the presentation of the prestigious "Charlemagne" award, Chancellor Olaf Scholz promised Germany's "full support" for Ukraine's path to membership in the European Union, Reuters notes.

Kyiv is pressing its allies for help to become a member of the EU and the military alliance NATO, efforts that have become more urgent since Russia's invasion last year. "Volodymyr Zelensky, you have our full support on your way to the European Union," Scholz said, addressing the Ukrainian president. Ukraine "is part of the European family," the chancellor emphasized to Zelensky, quoted by AFP.

"Across Europe, the war has made us realize one thing: Ukraine is part of our European family," the chancellor said. "Russia's war of aggression has brought the European Union and Ukraine closer than ever," he noted.

Olaf Scholz thanked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for defending European values after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine and recalled how Zelensky had demonstrated Ukrainian resolve with strong words on the morning of the Russian attack.

"The president is here. We are all here," Scholz said in Ukrainian, citing Zelensky's first video address since the invasion began. "Rarely in history have such short words had such a great effect".

It immediately became clear that the Ukrainian people will not succumb to Russian violence, but will resist, Scholz emphasized.

"Europe owes a lot to the Ukrainian people and to President Volodymyr Zelensky personally," Scholz said. "We're in this together!" he promised. "And our story will continue together."

Scholz defined the presentation of the "Charlemagne" award to Zelensky and his people as a prelude to the further joint growth of Europe.

"If Vladimir Putin believed that he could use force to divert the Ukrainian people from their path to Europe, then he - with all his tanks, drones and missile launchers - achieved nothing but the opposite effect," Scholz said, quoted by DPA. "The will for freedom and endurance in dark times give hope and inspiration far beyond Ukraine. At the head of the entire Ukrainian people, you protect the values that Europe is fighting for," the chancellor stressed, addressing Zelensky.

The Ukrainian president described the "Charlemagne" award presented to him as a "great honor". Addressing the audience with a speech of thanks during the award ceremony in the West German city of Aachen, Zelensky said that he was standing there on behalf of Ukrainians who fight every day for their freedom and for the values of Europe.

"Each one of them deserves to be here," he emphasized.

Zelensky added that Ukraine wants nothing but peace - but noted that it can only be achieved by winning the current conflict.

The war in Ukraine will also decide the fate of Europe, the Ukrainian president warned, saying that Russia, "capable of all cruelty and meanness", intends to destroy the history of European unification.

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, was also present at the ceremony. She said that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the Ukrainian people "are literally fighting for freedom, humanity and peace." With their blood and lives, they ensure the future of their own and also of other European children, the chairwoman said, praising Zelensky for his unconditional belief that those who fight for something are always stronger than those who want to impose their dominance over others.

Von der Leyen also recalled his first visit to Ukraine after the start of the Russian invasion last year. "I saw the mass graves next to the church, the body bags lying close to each other," she said, referring to her visit to the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, which was occupied by Russian troops in the spring of 2022. "I will never forget the image of countless candles ", representing the lifes of a father, mother, son, daughter, brother or sister, she emphasized.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, for his part, described Zelensky as a defender of European values. He is a "great European leader", a "hero" and "the most prominent leader on the international stage in the 21st century", Morawiecki said at the ceremony as the Ukrainian head of state listened from the stage behind him.

"President Zelenskiy is a role model for every politician," the Polish leader said, stressing that Russia's "barbaric attacks" are the antithesis of the free Europe that Ukraine is defending, according to Morawiecki.

In his speech, Morawiecki quoted former French foreign minister and European unification pioneer Robert Schuman, who said that a united Europe should in principle be open to every democratic European state. Ukraine's accession to the European Union is one of Zelensky's most important goals, DPA notes.

Novinite is still the only Bulgarian media that publishes a summary of events and highlights related to the conflict, every single day. Our coverage began on day one - 24.02.2022 and will not stop until the war has concluded. Despite the pressure, our independent media will continue to provide its readers with accurate and up-to-date information. Thank you for your support! #stayinformed

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Tags: Ukraine, Russia, Zelensky, Bakhmut


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