Prove that you will not let us go”: Zelensky asks EU leaders for solidarity after Ukraine applies to join bloc

Zelensky, speaking over a video link, was given a standing ovation.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on European leaders to “prove” their solidarity with his country, just a day after signing an official request to join the European Union. 

“We have proven our strength. We have proven that, at a minimum, we are exactly the same as you. So prove that you are with us. Prove that you will not let us go. Prove that you are, indeed, Europeans,” Zelensky said in a video address to the European Parliament on Tuesday. 

Zelensky said his country is “fighting for survival” amid the Russian invasion.

“Then, life will win over death and light will win over darkness,” he continued. “We are fighting for survival — this is the highest of our motivations — but we are also fighting to be equal members of Europe.” 

Tweeting on Tuesday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that the “best decision the EU can make now is to accept Ukraine as a new full-fledged member” of the organization.

“Historic times require big and historic decisions which can change the flow of events,” he added, urging EU leaders to admit Ukraine to the bloc “without delay.” 

Addressing the European Parliament via video link, Zelensky stressed that the Ukrainian people are fighting for their lives, urging EU leaders to stand by Ukraine amid Russia’s ongoing invasion. 

“We are dealing with real people, real lives. We are giving our lives for our values, our rights, our freedom, for the desire to be equals — as much as you are,” Zelensky said. 

“Nobody is going to break us. We are strong. We are Ukrainians,” he added.

Why did it take the West so long to wake up to Putin’s outrages?

This terrifying, world-changing conflict in Ukraine did not start in 2022. Nor did it start in 2014. It began a decade and a half ago when Russia invaded Georgia and got away with it.

The playbook Putin has been using to rebuild his empire was always rudimentary. The supposed antagonists were always an oppressed population and a “fascist” government backed by the United States.

For years, Western media portrayed Ukraine as a country “at war with itself.” But it never was. It was bewildering to me that after all these years, even before this latest, and possibly fatal for him, invasion, the debate in the West focused on rights and wrongs of the NATO enlargement and not the fact that a sovereign country has the right to choose its own path.

The whole world is suddenly high on moral clarity. For everyone who has lived on the frontlines of Putin’s hatred for liberal democracy, this show of Western unity and the resurgence of liberal values comes as an incredible relief. But it won’t last unless we also accept that it already comes too late for far too many.

It is too late for Georgians who never stopped losing lives and land, for countless residents of Aleppo who died in the Russian bombardment, for 298 men, women and children who fell from the sky when a civilian Boeing MH17 was shot down by a Russian BUK missile in 2015, for thousands who died in the Donbas in the last 8 years and for countless others who are yet to die in Ukraine.

Editor’s Note: Natalia Antelava’s opinion article was published in cnn. on 1 March 2022.

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Published: 1 March 2022.
Updated: 13 April 2022.

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“Then, life will win over death and light will win over darkness” ~ President Zelensky. “We are fighting for our life. Prove that you will not let us go”. Ukraine applies to join EU bloc