President Volodymyr Zelensky is currently on his way to Brussels with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron to attend a historic European Union summit on Feb. 9, French broadcaster BFMTV reported.
The pair’s Paris-Brussels flight was scheduled for 8:30 a.m. local time, though due to a a minor delay they are now set to land at 10 a.m., according to the media report.
Upon arrival, Zelensky is expected to lobby European leaders into supplying more weapons to Ukraine and make a renewed call for EU accession talks to begin soon.
The summit is part of the Ukrainian leader’s second known international trip since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. As Ukraine braces for the first anniversary of the all-out war, Zelensky has stepped up his efforts to call for Kyiv’s long-sought Western fighter jets and longer-range weapons.
Earlier on Feb. 8, Zelensky made a surprise visit to the U.K., where he repeated calls for fighter jets as he met Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and spoke to British Parliament. Sunak said that “nothing is off the table” concerning weapons for Ukraine, including combat aircraft.
Zelensky then made a late-night visit to Paris, where he had a working dinner with Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. There he repeated his pleas again for fighter jets, saying that Ukraine needs them "as soon as possible.”
On the sidelines of the dinner, Macron awarded Zelensky with the Legion of Honor, France's highest order of merit.
Earlier, Macron said on Jan. 30 that he does not rule out the possibility of transferring fighter jets, but he voiced concerns that such a move could escalate the tensions between the West and Russia.
Following London’s unexpectedly positive gesture on Feb. 8 during Zelensky’s brief U.K. trip, the Russian embassy immediately reacted, threatening that there would be “consequences for the European continent and the whole world.”