Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Kyiv on Friday. Their visit came as the European Union recalled its ambassador to Kyiv, underlining the improved security situation and the EU-27’s commitment to the beleaguered country.
Ursula von der Leyen and Josep Borrell also visited Bucha, a town outside Kyiv where Russian forces are accused by Ukraine’s allies of committing atrocities against civilians. von der Leyen said “here in Bucha we have seen our humanity shattered”.
“It was important to start my visit in Bucha. Because in Bucha our humanity was shattered. My message to Ukrainian people: Those responsible for the atrocities will be brought to justice. Your fight is our fight. I’m in Kyiv today to tell you that Europe is on your side,” the EC President said on Twitter.
The the same time, Ursula von der Leyen in Kyiv on Friday presented Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with documents for Ukraine to join the EU, stating : “This is where your path towards the European Union begins.”
“We stand ready to support you in filling out this questionnaire. It will not be, as usual, a matter of years, but rather a matter of weeks” to complete this step, she added
Von der Leyen said she plans to present Ukraine’s application to the European Council this summer.
During the joint press conference von der Leyen said: “Russia will descend in economic, financial and technological decay while Ukraine is marching towards a European future.”
In his turn, Josep Borrell announced in Kyiv that the European Union was returning its delegation to the Ukrainian capital. The head of the EU delegation to Ukraine, Matti Maasikos, was also accompanying Borrell and von der Leyen, to reopen the European Commission Delegation and assess the conditions for the return of staff. The EU representation was completely evacuated from Kyiv one day after the war started.
The envoy’s return will help ensure that the European Union and the Ukrainian government can work together closely and directly, Borrell said.
“Ukraine is not a country invaded, dominated. There is still a government [which] receives people from outside, and you can travel to Kyiv,” Borrell said.
Ukrainian president had asked foreign diplomats to return to Kyiv after Russia had withdrawn troops from the Ukrainian Capital.