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Zelenskyy’s visit to Brussels: what does Kyiv want, and will Ukraine receive fighter jets?

After his visit to the United Kingdom and a late working dinner in France, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived in Brussels to attend the summit of the EU leaders. The main goal of these three visits is said to be the intensification of military aid to Ukraine, in particular to contain Russia’s spring offensive.

Meanwhile, the main subjects of the two-day summit were Russia’s war in Ukraine and the results of the Ukraine-EU summit held in Kyiv on February 3.

What did Volodymyr Zelenskyy talk about at the EU summit, what does Kyiv expect of the European leaders, and is there a will to give us fighter jets? The Page offers a brief summary of the visit.


What Zelenskyy wants from Brussels

Zelenskyy asks for more weapons for Ukraine and more sanctions against Russia. Photo: Getty Images

Zelenskyy asks for more weapons for Ukraine and more sanctions against Russia. Photo: Getty Images

After the president's visit to Paris, where Zelenskyy had a meeting with Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz and was awarded the Legion of Honor by the French president, he flew to Brussels. According to the Elysée Palace, Zelenskyy and Macron departed for the EU summit together.

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Ukraine's President urged that Ukraine be given as soon as possible:

  • artillery and munitions to it;
  • modern tanks that have already been promised to Ukraine;
  • long-range missiles;
  • modern aviation, including fighter jets.

According to him, this would enable Ukraine to launch an offensive. Zelenskyy also intended to promote his peace formula and the start of EU membership negotiations this year.

In Brussels, Zelenskyy was personally greeted by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, and thereafter he gave a speech to the European Parliament. In the hall of the Parliament, he was greeted with exclamations of "Glory to Ukraine" and loud applause.

Highlights and quotes from Zelenskyy’s speech in the European Parliament:

Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the European Parliament. Photo: Getty Images

Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the European Parliament. Photo: Getty Images

  • Ukraine’s path to the EU and the European way of life is a way home, but it needs to be defended since there is an attempt to destroy it by all-out war;
Quote"No matter who we are, we always fight against contempt. Wherever we live, we always rely on good faith. Whatever we dream of for our children, for our grandchildren, the unconditional background for these dreams is peace — peace and security."
Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the European Parliament: Russia has undermined the value of life. Photo: Getty Images

Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the European Parliament: Russia has undermined the value of life. Photo: Getty Images

  • The value of human life has been completely destroyed in Russia. The rule of violence and obedience are the rules there instead of law. For the Kremlin, all 140 million Russian citizens "are just bodies capable of carrying weapons to Ukraine." All the terrors that happened in the 1930s and 1940s are becoming normal there;

Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s speech in the European Parliament [video]

  • Ukraine is defending itself against the most anti-European force in modern history, and only victory can ensure the European values shared by Ukraine and the EU;
  • All citizens of the EU, from students to doctors, and from teachers to officials, can influence the outcome of the war and, as a result, the protection of the European way of life and European values;
Quote"A victorious Ukraine will be a member of a victorious European Union."
  • Europe is finally freeing itself from destructive dependence on Russian fossil fuels and the corrupt influence of Russian oligarchic business. It clears itself of the Russian special services;
  • Members of the European Parliament were invited to visit Ukraine at any moment.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses the European Parliament. Photo: Getty Images

Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses the European Parliament. Photo: Getty Images

Zelenskyy’s speech was followed by the Ukrainian anthem and the anthem of the EU (Beethoven's "Ode to Joy"). Like in the British Parliament, the president was greeted by a standing ovation.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the meeting of the European Council [video]

The EU isn’t ready to promise much to Kyiv: what is discussed in Brussels

Although military support for Kyiv was actively discussed during all visits, and Zelenskyy urged the United Kingdom to promote a coalition of planes for Ukraine, there is no certainty in the EU that could let him take home a strong commitment to provide fighter jets.

Thus, according to The New York Times, European leaders will avoid the subject of military aid at the summit but instead focus on sanctions against Russia, as well as the question of how Ukraine would manage billions of dollars of aid from the European Union in 2023. Another issue to discuss is the possibility of using seized Russian assets to compensate for Ukraine’s losses caused by the war and to pay for its reconstruction.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Brussels: the EU is cautious in its promises. Photo: Getty Images

Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Brussels: the EU is cautious in its promises. Photo: Getty Images

The Financial Times also argues that, despite the vivid tour, which the newspaper dubbed the "Zelenskyy show", the Ukrainian president won’t be able to solve all Kyiv’s problems at once.

Zelenskyy hopes primarily to receive ammunition, especially shells for Soviet-era artillery, and an agreement from the EU and NATO leaders to join the training of pilots to fly the jets that could be donated to Kyiv in the future.

However, Brussels diplomats explain on condition of anonymity that the EU leaders sympathize with Ukraine, but some believe they have provided as much as they can without weakening their own armed forces.

Will Ukraine get fighter jets?

Both the United Kingdom and the European Union speak cautiously about the possible donation of fighter jets to Kyiv.

Thus, London said it would not send fighter jets to Ukraine if there was a risk to British safety. The government has to evaluate potential escalatory risks, The Guardian writes.

Quote"Firstly we haven’t made a decision in terms of U.K. provision of jets, we are training currently. The U.K. is in the process of providing Challenger tanks, and we have provided longer-range capabilities as well. We take these decisions carefully, and we do it thoughtfully," Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson said.
Sunak promised Zelenskyy to consider providing fighter jets. Photo: Getty Images

Sunak promised Zelenskyy to consider providing fighter jets. Photo: Getty Images

He pointed out that the U.K. had significant numbers of Typhoons and F-35s and would work with its NATO partners to provide Ukraine with modern aircraft. In particular, sending Typhoons would require permission from Italy, Spain, and Germany, while F-35s would need U.S. agreement.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte also stressed that Ukraine’s allies needed to ensure they were not getting themselves into a direct confrontation with Russia, the FT notes. The pros and cons of the decision to provide fighter jets will be discussed behind closed doors.

For his part, Emmanuel Macron said he hadn’t discussed fighter jets with Zelenskyy in Paris and wasn’t going to disclose the conversation in full detail.

Macron didn’t discuss fighter jets with Zelenskyy. Photo: Getty Images

Macron didn’t discuss fighter jets with Zelenskyy. Photo: Getty Images

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Thursday that his country could only act as part of NATO:

Quote"If such a decision is made, we will not be the first ones to hand over the fighter jets, but we will respond positively, provided that those who have the most of these jets will be able to give them to Ukraine."

Meanwhile, Russia said that the discussion of providing Kyiv with fighter jets was moving the West towards direct conflict with Russia.

Sanctions and missiles: what Ukraine can obtain

Although the issue of fighter jets for Ukraine remains disputable, Volodymyr Zelenskyy can achieve other results. In particular, he called on the EU to impose sanctions on Rosatom, and, according to the president’s chief of staff, Andrii Yermak, there are chances that they will find support in the EU.

Zelenskyy in the European Parliament: what Kyiv receives. Photo: Getty Images

Zelenskyy in the European Parliament: what Kyiv receives. Photo: Getty Images

According to him, most EU leaders support increased sanctions against Russia as well as the establishment of a tribunal to prosecute Russian criminals.

Hungary was also given a refresher, according to Serhii Leshchenko, an adviser to the president’s chief of staff: Zelenskyy has personally reminded Viktor Orbán that it’s Ukraine that defends the pipe that supplies oil to Budapest.

Roberta Metsola urged the provision of jets to Kyiv. Photo: Getty Images

Roberta Metsola urged the provision of jets to Kyiv. Photo: Getty Images

After European Parliament President Roberta Metsola urged the provision of long-range weapons and fighter jets to Kyiv, Yermak also wrote that "the issue of long-range weapons and fighter jets for Ukraine is resolved."

znimok-ekrana-2023-02-09-o-161726.png

However, the president’s chief of staff later updated the wording to say that "the issue of long-range weapons and fighter jets for Ukraine may be resolved." It was promised that the details would be given later.

znimok-ekrana-2023-02-09-o-161615.png
Quote"Hey swamp, what’s wrong with your face?" Yermak wrote, addressing the Russians.

Apparently, the debates around the provision of fighter jets to Kyiv will continue. However, since they have already started, there is a chance that the issue will eventually be resolved, as it was with Western tanks.

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