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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Zelenskyy may attend EU summit in Brussels on Thursday

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine at a meeting with to European Union leaders in Kyiv on Friday.

By Matina Stevis-Gridneff

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine could visit Brussels on Thursday to meet with European Union leaders arriving in the Belgian capital for a long-planned summit.

As part of such a visit, Zelenskyy would likely address the European Parliament on Thursday, according to an email from the parliament’s secretary-general to European lawmakers that was reviewed by the New York Times. Zelenskyy’s possible presence, which hinges on security arrangements, was reported earlier by the Financial Times.

Charles Michel, the president of the European Council of member nation leaders, invited Zelenskyy to participate in person at “a future summit.” The invitation was announced in a Twitter post from a spokesperson for Michel, who did not specify any details of the invitation or its timing.

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said on a state news broadcast Monday night that his department was working on a number of possible visits by Zelenskyy, “but when and where they will take place, you will find out from the president himself and from his office,” according to the Ukrinform news agency.

A visit this week, if it happens, would be the Ukrainian leader’s second known trip outside his country since Russia invaded nearly a year ago. In December, Zelenskyy visited Washington to meet with President Joe Biden and deliver an emotional plea to Congress.

Last month, Ukraine received more heavy military aid from the United States, as well as the promise of Abrams tanks.

Zelenskyy’s mission to Brussels would be a little different. As he did during visit by top EU brass to Kyiv last week, Zelenskyy would most likely be trying to shore up political support as the EU deals with the economic fallout of the war and the cost of hosting more than 4 million Ukrainian refugees.

European nations have largely closed ranks behind Ukraine, in some cases at great cost to their economies, including by severing their energy links to Russia. They have also dealt with the fallout of ratcheting up the economic costs of the war for the Kremlin through sanctions — while Zelenskyy has been pushing for more, and better enforced, economic penalties for Moscow.

Ukraine was granted EU candidate status in June, but the recent visit by European leaders to Kyiv underscored that it is unlikely to be admitted to the club soon. Zelenskyy’s request for an expedited process has also fallen flat.

Still, Zelensky needs EU funding to keep his embattled country running and avoid a default on its debts. And his country will need enormous sums of funding to ultimately rebuild.

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