E.U. Parliament President Visits War-torn Ukraine – European Parliament President Roberta Metsola was the first top EU official to visit Kyiv on Friday, even as Russian troops remain in the city.
Metsola told her Twitter followers that she was visiting the country to “give a message of hope.”
Upon arrival, Metsola met with the Ukrainian parliament speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk and gave a statement to the nation’s press after their meeting.
The EU official, who was elected in January, announced that the European Union is willing to discuss an official application for Ukraine to join the political bloc, explaining that the application process can begin soon.
“Please believe me when I say that the European Parliament, the European Union, and the people of Europe stand with Ukraine. That is why I am here today, because we stand with you,” she said after arriving in the capital Kyiv,” Metsola said.
Three commitments were made during the speech, starting with a pledge to continue to challenge Russian President Vladimir Putin’s breach of international law. The second pledge, she said, is that the European Union will recognize Ukraine’s “European ambitions,” and that the political bloc will also assist with efforts to rebuild the country.
While Metsola is the first top official from the European Union to enter Ukraine, she is not the first political leader. In March, the prime ministers of Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and Poland all met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv at a time when Russian attacks were more frequent.
Over the last week, up to 20% of Russian troops have begun to reposition in the country, with many retreating from Kyiv and the city’s suburbs.
Metsola Pledges EU Assistance Rebuilding Ukraine
During a press conference with speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk, Metsola pledged European Union support in rebuilding Ukraine
While Ukraine is not a member of the European Union, Metsola insisted that as a European country, Ukraine can count on the full support of the political bloc’s 27 member states.
“We will help you rebuild your cities and your towns,” Metsola said. “We have already provided financial, military and humanitarian assistance — this will continue and it will increase.”
Metsola said that the EU will continue to take care of families who have been forced to flee their homes and towns until they are able to safely return.
“Ukraine is Europe,” she said.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.