Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Wednesday urged the European Union to let his country start on the road to EU membership, warning that Russia’s territorial ambitions range from Warsaw to Sofia.
In a speech to both chambers of the Czech Republic’s Parliament via a video link, Zelenskiy also called for more EU sanctions against Russia for its February 24 invasion of Ukraine.
“Russia is not only interested in our (cities of) Mariupol, Sievierodonetsk, Kharkiv and Kiev. No, its ambitions are aimed at a vast area from Warsaw to Sofia,” he said, without citing evidence for his claim.
“As in the past, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is the first step that Russian leadership needs to pave the way for other countries, for the conquest of other peoples.”
The EU has adopted six rounds of sanctions against Russia, and Ukraine is seeking a seventh round to increase pressure on Russia to end the war.
The European Commission is expected to announce a decision on Ukraine’s application for candidate status this week, ahead of an EU summit next week. Having candidate status would be a preliminary step in a long accession process.
“Granting Ukraine candidate status now is proving that European unification is real and that European values really work and are not just stated in certain documents,” Zelenskiy said.
He added that the Czech people — after Nazi German occupation during World War II and decades of post-war Soviet domination — know what comes from concessions to tyranny.