In his address to MEPs on Wednesday, the Speaker of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada (parliament) Ruslan Stefanchuk called on the EU to endorse his country’s membership application.
Welcoming Mr Stefanchuk to the hemicycle in Strasbourg, Parliament’s PresidentRoberta Metsola underscored Ukraine’s “fight for freedom, for democracy, for the values that bind us as Europeans, is our fight. What Ukraine has had to endure was unthinkable a few months ago, but your people have inspired the world.”
President Metsola added that the European Parliament will continue to actively support Ukraine’s efforts to be granted EU candidate status. “We know how important it is to send a clear signal that Ukraine’s place is within our European family. To tell everyone that Ukraine is Europe,” she said.
Mr Stefanchuk outlined how the initial Russian assault on Ukraine had shocked his country and the entire world, but that Ukrainians had quickly realised what they needed to do: unite against the aggressor.
Praising President Metsola for being one of the first European leaders to visit Ukraine following the outbreak of the war, he also thanked European countries for their response to the Russian aggression, for welcoming Ukrainian refugees, and for standing with the people of Ukraine in these dark times. At the same time, he raised the prospect of more action in the event of the war continuing, including further EU sanctions, even as they start to negatively impact European economies. “Because the price for defeat will be way bigger,” he said.
In addition, Mr Stefanchuk also expressed his deep wish for the European Union to strongly support his country’s desire to be granted EU candidate status. Ukraine and its people need this powerful message from Europe, he underlined, while pointing out that any other political signal would only benefit Russian President Vladimir Putin and his regime. He also thanked the European Parliament for its strong support for his country.
You can watch his address again here.