It was a big day in Kyiv on Friday as the capital hosted an EU-Ukraine summit with the bloc’s chief Ursula von der Leyen in town alongside the EU’s most senior diplomat, Josep Borrell.
After a day of talks they, along with President Volodymyr Zelensky, filled us in on what they’d been discussing. Here are the 5 main takeaways.
1) ‘No one will surrender Bakhmut
President Zelensky said Kyiv's forces would fight for the frontline hotspot of Bakhmut for as long as possible.
"No one will surrender Bakhmut. We will fight as long as we can," Zelensky told reporters after a summit.
"We consider Bakhmut to be our fortress."
He also reiterated that Ukraine needs “accelerated” arms supplies to recapture Donbas, AFP reports.
2) Prosecuting the Russian leadership
Kyiv and the EU backed plans to set up an international prosecution office in The Hague to help investigate Russia for the "crime of aggression" in Ukraine.
The move is seen as an interim step before the creation of a special tribunal capable of prosecuting the Russian leadership.
"We support the development of an international centre for the prosecution of the crime of aggression in Ukraine (ICPA) in The Hague with the objective to coordinate investigation of the crime of aggression against Ukraine, preserve and store evidence for future trials," the statement said.
Kyiv is pressing for a special tribunal to be set up to prosecute Moscow for the crime of aggression because it sees this as a way to achieve faster justice and more easily target the Kremlin's top officials.
3) ‘Ukraine is the EU’
EU chief Charles Michel on Friday reiterated support for Ukraine's closer integration with the bloc during the summit.
"Ukraine is the EU, the EU is Ukraine," Michel said at a press conference with Zelensky and von der Leyen, adding: "The EU is with you today, the EU will be with you and your people tomorrow."
4) More reforms needed
The EU said Ukraine had made "considerable efforts" to advance towards membership but urged Kyiv to implement more reforms.
"The EU acknowledged the considerable efforts that Ukraine demonstrated in the recent months," it said in a statement.
The bloc said it "encouraged the country to continue on this path and to fulfil the conditions specified in the Commission's opinion on its membership application in order to advance towards future EU membership."
Zelensky said his war-torn country will not waste "a single day" bringing EU membership closer. "Our goal is absolutely clear: to start negotiations on Ukraine's membership in the European Union.
"We will not lose a single day in our work to bring Ukraine and the EU closer together," said Zelensky, who hosted top EU chiefs for a summit in Kyiv.
5) Russian frozen assets
The European Union plans to ramp up efforts to use Russian frozen assets to compensate Ukraine war damage, Brussels.
"The EU will also step up its work towards the use of Russia's frozen assets to support Ukraine's reconstruction and for the purposes of reparation, in accordance with EU and international law," the statement said, although the legal framework for the process remains unclear.
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Comments ( 1)
Oil sanctions must be imposed on Russia for decades to pay reparations for the damage they have inflicted upon Ukraine. A ten to twenty five percent tariff should be imposed upon any country purchasing oil from Russia that will pay for the necessary reconstruction.