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Zelensky asks EU leaders for endurance in face of Russia's aggressive ambitions

by Martin Fornusek October 26, 2023 11:01 PM 2 min read
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses EU leaders via videoconference during their two-day summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Oct. 26, 2023. (Presidential Office)
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Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky told European leaders on Oct. 26 that a long-term strategy and endurance are needed in order to overcome the threat of Russia's aggressive ambitions.

"Russia needs to see that its ambitions as an invader will endure less than our ability to defend our freedom," the president said in a video address to EU leaders, convening for a two-day European Council summit in Brussels.

The allied unity has recently encountered several challenges. A populist, Ukraine-skeptic party took leadership of a new government in Slovakia, and similar political forces are growing stronger elsewhere in the West.

In the U.S., the leading military donor to Ukraine, a hard-line faction of Republican lawmakers grows increasingly critical of the support for Kyiv's war effort.

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Zelensky reminded that despite ideological differences, Europe shares common fundamental values, namely respect for life and for other nations. For that reason, it is a historical responsibility of European nations to safeguard these values and prevent the continent's violent history from repeating itself, he added.

The president thanked Ukraine's partners for their continued support, including military aid and long-term financial support. He specifically highlighted Belgium's efforts to use frozen Russian assets to fund the aid for Ukraine.

Addressing the discussed 12th sanctions package, Ukraine's head of state said it should be more powerful than the previous one and include a crackdown on Russia's circumvention methods.

"The key now is to ensure that all sanctions work to the fullest and that Russia cannot circumvent them... We see that this has become one of the Kremlin's top priorities – to manipulate sanctions and to neutralize them," Zelensky said.

The media reported last week that the EU leadership is starting talks on the new sanctions package, said to include tackling Russia's sanctions evasion and a ban on Russian diamonds.

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