Some 50 European leaders held a summit with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky yesterday in Moldova, defying Russian President Vladimir Putin in the small country witnessing Ukraine’s close-neighbor war and living in fear of possible destabilization by Russia. This comes as Moscow announced that it had thwarted a Ukrainian attempt to “invade” its southwestern borders, while Russia bombed Kiev with missiles, killing three people, including a child.
In detail, about 50 European leaders met in Moldova, only twenty kilometers from the Ukrainian border, to send a message of support to these two former Soviet republics. The Ukrainian President took advantage of the opportunity provided by the second meeting of the European Political Group (EPC) to strongly support his country’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union.
The Ukrainian president called for “alliances” for Patriot air defense systems in a letter to European leaders.
Zelensky said in Moldova that the creation of “an alliance of Patriot systems that will put an end to Russian blackmail with ballistic missiles, and a coalition of modern fighters that will prove that terrorizing our citizens has no chance, are crucial ingredients.”
Zelensky also stressed Ukraine’s readiness to join the European Union and NATO.
“We only need peace,” he said. This is why every European country that borders Russia, and does not want to be torn apart by Russia, must become a full member of the European Union and NATO.
He added that Russia is afraid of “NATO” and is only trying to swallow all those outside the common security space.
“All European countries that share borders with Russia and do not want Russia to take part of their territory should be full members of NATO and the European Union,” Zelensky said. “Every doubt we show is a trench that Russia will try to occupy,” he added.
Yesterday, NATO foreign ministers met in Oslo to discuss possible responses to Kiev’s request for membership.
Moldovan President Maia Sandu said that this summit “is a clear expression of our unity, strength and determination to work together … as one European family … to deter aggression and consolidate peace on the continent.” Her country also touched on the door of the European Union.
Like the first edition held in Prague in October, the summit was organized in Mimi Castle, located in the village of Polboaka, about 35 kilometers from the capital, Chisinau, and a group “family photo” was taken for the participants.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was re-elected last week, was absent from the meeting.
This forum – which is wider than the European Union (20 invited countries plus 27 member states of the bloc) and was initiated by French President Emmanuel Macron – brings together countries with different strategic interests such as Armenia, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Serbia and Azerbaijan.
“Putin’s Russia has excluded itself from this society by waging this war on Ukraine,” declared European Union foreign minister Josep Borrell.
“I hope that the presence of so many leaders here, near Ukraine, will send a strong message of the unity of many countries, not just the European Union, to defend the international system,” he added.
On the field level, Moscow announced yesterday that it had thwarted a Ukrainian attempt to “invade” its southwestern borders, while Russia bombed Kiev with missiles, killing three people, including a child. The Ukrainian capital was hit by air strikes almost every night in May, while an unusual attack on Monday sent residents to shelters.
And while Kiev launched its air defenses in the face of a new barrage of Russian ballistic and cruise missiles, Moscow announced that it had thwarted an attempt by Ukrainian forces to “invade” the Belgorod region (southwest). It added that Moscow used aircraft and artillery to repel the attacks and prevent Ukrainian forces from crossing into Russian territory.
Moscow’s latest assault on Kiev began just before 3 am local time, when ballistic and cruise missiles were launched from the Russian region of Bryansk.
The Ukrainian Air Force announced the interception and destruction of all 10 cruise missiles launched by Russia.
Three people, including a nine-year-old child, were killed in the Desnyansky district (northeast of Kiev) as a result of shrapnel from missiles. Another 16 people were injured.
The mayor of Kiev, Vitali Klitschko, confirmed that three people were killed when “shrapnel from a missile” landed near a clinic while they were trying to find a place to take cover, as sirens warning of an air strike sounded.
Yesterday, the Kremlin denounced what it considered the silence of the international community after the Belgorod region, close to the Ukrainian border, was attacked, which Moscow blamed on Kiev.