France, Germany, Italy back Ukraine’s E.U. candidacy in first wartime trip to Kyiv
Friday, 17 June, 2022, 10:00
The leaders of the European Union’s three largest economies on Thursday said they were backing Ukraine’s candidacy to join the 27-member bloc, a move that President Volodymyr Zelensky has fiercely advocated as his country loses ground in the face of Russia’s invasion. The announcement came during the first wartime visit to Kyiv by French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who traveled together from Poland on an overnight train. Romanian President Klaus Iohannis joined them in the Ukrainian capital.
“We are at a turning point in our history,” Draghi said, standing alongside Zelensky and the three other leaders at a news conference in the garden of the Mariinsky Palace, where official delegations are received.
“Every day, the Ukrainian people are defending the values of democracy and liberty that are the pillars of the European project, of our project,” Draghi said.
Scholz said he had come with the message that Ukraine “belongs to the European family.” Macron declared: “Ukraine can count on us.” Europe is “more united and stronger than ever,” Iohannis said.
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