Ukraine's fate hangs in the balance in Brussels: the war-torn country hangs on the decision on its EU membership application
Sylvie Claire / June 23, 2022
The fate of Ukraine is at stake in Brussels, where the 27 member states will discuss its application to join the European Union on Thursday, a symbolic milestone nearly four months after its invasion by the Russian army.
In Ukraine, Russian forces continue to tighten their grip in the Donbass on the twin cities of Lyssychansk and Severodonetsk. The pocket of Ukrainian resistance around these two strategic industrial cities is more and more closely surrounded by the Russians, in this region of Lugansk destroyed by artillery fighting.
As actively as we are fighting for a positive decision of the European Union on the candidacy of Ukraine, we are fighting daily to obtain deliveries of modern weapons, hammered Wednesday evening the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, who must participate in a virtual way in the summit of the European Council in Brussels. We expect a key European decision in the evening, said the man who has been repeating for weeks that his former Soviet republic belongs to the European family.
Volovymyr Zelensky was to continue his telephone marathon with European leaders on Thursday to extract a consensus in favor of the yes.
He can count on the support of the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who called on European leaders to rise to the occasion by agreeing to Kiev's request.
A few days ago, the European executive gave a favourable opinion on Ukraine's application and on Tuesday, France, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, indicated that a total consensus between the 27 Member States had emerged on this issue.
They want to destroy the whole Donbass, step by step. Completely. Lyssychansk, Sloviansk, Kramatorsk... They want to turn all the cities into Mariupol, the martyred city of the war, said President Zelensky on Wednesday night. The two cities of Lyssychansk and Severodonetsk are a key step for the Russians in their plan to conquer the entire Donbass, a mainly Russian-speaking basin partly held by pro-Russian separatists since 2014.
Further north, in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, held by the Ukrainians and shelled daily, the streets seemed emptied of their inhabitants on Wednesday.
Two grain storage terminals were hit by Russian shelling on Wednesday in the Ukrainian port city of Mykolayev. The ports of Mykolayev and Odessa have been blocked since the beginning of the conflict, which paralyzes the maritime transport of agricultural raw materials, the main export route for Ukraine until now.
The European summit is to be followed by a G7 summit and a third NATO summit. The issue of financial aid to Kiev is expected to be at the heart of the discussions at these three meetings.
The G7 summit at the end of the week in Germany will result in a set of concrete proposals to increase pressure on Russia and show our collective support for Ukraine, a senior White House official promised Wednesday. The White House stressed that Volodymyr Zelensky would speak, virtually, at both meetings.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called Wednesday from Berlin for a Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Ukraine, with a budget of several billion euros.