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In Kyiv, von der Leyen hails Ukraine’s ‘glorious progress’ forward of EU enlargement progress report – EURACTIV.com

*Updates with press remarks by Presidents Von der Leyen and Zelenskyy.

KYIV, UKRAINE – European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen on Saturday (4 November) arrived on an unannounced go to in Kyiv, simply days earlier than the EU’s govt is anticipated to publish its enlargement progress reviews and sure advocate opening accession talks with Ukraine.

Von der Leyen’s go to, her sixth since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, comes as Ukraine is anticipated to be the main focus of subsequent week’s European Fee enlargement report on EU candidate international locations’ reform progress.

In mid-December, EU leaders will meet for a summit in Brussels, the place they are going to resolve whether or not to greenlight the opening of formal accession talks with the nation and resolve over an EU finances top-up that has delayed approval of its €50 billion help bundle for Ukraine.

Von der Leyen instructed reporters earlier than her departure on the practice to Kyiv that the go to was meant to take inventory of a variety of points.

After all, the enlargement matter can be on the prime of the agenda but additionally our monetary and army help, the twelfth sanctions bundle as properly, so a large basket of points we’ve to debate,” von der Leyen mentioned earlier.

And a very powerful message is reassuring that we are going to stand by Ukraine for so long as it takes,” she added.

Whereas in Kyiv, von der Leyen held conferences with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and different senior Ukrainian officers.

‘Glorious progress’

Talking alongside Zelenskyy after their bilateral talks, von der Leyen mentioned Ukraine has made “glorious progress” on the situations for future EU accession.

“I need to say, you could have made glorious progress, it’s spectacular to see (…) We’ll testify to this subsequent when the Fee will current its report on enlargement,” Von der Leyen mentioned.

Ukraine has “reached many milestones (…) that is the results of laborious work,” she instructed reporters, including that Kyiv is within the technique of finishing extra reforms.

“If this occurs, and I’m assured, [then] Ukraine can attain its bold aim of transferring to the following stage of the accession course of,” she added.

Combating Ukraine fatigue

Whereas Von der Leyen’s flying go to to Ukraine follows related latest visits to the Western Balkans and Moldova, it was to be about extra than simply reassuring Kyiv over enlargement.

Over the previous weeks, Ukraine and a few of the nation’s staunchest supporters have voiced considerations that the eye from the US and its Western allies will shift in the direction of the Center East as worries in regards to the Israel-Hamas conflict doubtlessly destabilising the area develop.

Kyiv can be apprehensive about the way forward for US help, as their American ally struggles to safe worldwide support within the face of a divided US Congress forward of subsequent 12 months’s presidential election.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has requested the West to not falter in supporting Ukraine.

“After all, we lose out from the occasions within the Center East,” he had mentioned in an interview with TIME journal.

“Exhaustion with the conflict rolls alongside like a wave (…) You see it in the USA and Europe. And we see that as quickly as they begin to get a bit drained, it turns into like a present to them: ‘I can’t watch this rerun for the tenth time,” Zelenskyy added.

Talking alongside von der Leyen on Saturday, Zelenskyy mentioned that “it’s clear the conflict within the Center East takes over the main focus of worldwide consideration” however that he was assured help for Ukraine would proceed.

Zelenskyy additionally denied media reviews that US and EU officers had been asking Kyiv to contemplate peace negotiations with Russia.

US and European officers have spoken to the Ukrainian authorities about what potential peace negotiations with Russia may entail to finish the conflict, NBC quoted two nameless US officers as saying.

“No one is placing strain on me immediately. No chief of the US or EU places strain on us to take a seat down on the negotiation desk,” Zelenskyy mentioned, stressing that such a call would lie solely with him and the Ukrainian individuals.

Western leaders have to this point continued to reaffirm their help for Ukraine, however to some observers, the pledges may begin to ring hole with feedback that run opposite to the general public traces taken.

A pair of infamous Russian pranksters tricked Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni right into a telephone name in mid-September the place she mentioned Western allies are bored with the conflict.

“I see that there’s a lot of fatigue, I’ve to say the reality, from all the perimeters,” Meloni mentioned in an audio recording of the decision, launched on-line this week.

“We’re nearing the second wherein everyone understands that we want a means out,” she added.

“Persons are drained. That is fatigue. That is regular,” Zelenskyy mentioned in Kyiv on Saturday.

“There are difficulties, sure. There are totally different opinions [on the conflict]. That is true. However I imagine that we don’t have any proper even to consider a defeat. There isn’t any various,” Zelenskyy mentioned.

[Edited by Alice Taylor]

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