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Ukraine maintains the initiative in its counteroffensive against occupying Russian troops, President Volodymr Zelensky said in a joint press conference with Czech President Petr Pavel on July 6.
"We are advancing," Zelensky said. "We have the initiative now. The offensive is not fast, that's a fact. Nonetheless, we are moving forward — not backwards, like the Russians."
Zelensky arrived in Prague on July 6 with plans to meet with President Pavel, Prime Minister Petr Fiala, and other top officials to discuss defense support, the unfolding situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, and the upcoming Vilnius NATO summit.
On Telegram, Zelensky thanked President Pavel for Czechia's ongoing support, saying that with sanctions against Russia, military aid to Ukraine, and support for Ukraine's membership in EU and NATO, "the Czech people are truly helping to bring victory closer."
"It is in the interest of the Czech Republic that Ukraine, as soon as the war ends, starts negotiations on joining NATO," Pavel said on Twitter. He said he hopes to begin talks on Ukraine's entry to the EU by the end of this year.
Zelensky's visit to Prague followed a meeting with the Bulgarian government in Sofia to secure support for Ukraine's entry into NATO and discuss other issues related to Ukraine's defense operations.
The NATO summit in Vilnius begins next week. Zelensky's negotiations with European leaders aim to bolster support for Ukraine's membership bid ahead of the July 11 summit.