KYIV (Reuters) – The head of the European Parliament said during a visit to Kyiv on Friday that the people of Europe stand with Ukraine and will help rebuild its towns and cities after the war with Russia.
Roberta Metsola, who took over as the European Parliament’s president in January, also said the assembly would support Ukraine’s efforts to start the process of joining the European Union.
“Please believe me when I say that the European Parliament, the European Union and the people of Europe stand with Ukraine. That is why I am here today, because we stand with you,” she said after arriving in the capital Kyiv.
Metsola, who is Maltese, made three promises to Ukraine.
“First, (President Vladimir) Putin’s criminal invasion of Ukraine puts Russia in direct confrontation with Europe, the international community and the rules-based world order. That is not something that we will let him do unchallenged,” she said.
“Second, the European Union recognises your European ambitions and your aspiration to be a candidate country for succession. And you can count on the European Parliament’s full support in achieving this goal.”
“Third, we will help you rebuild your cities and your towns when this illegal, unprovoked and unnecessary war is over. We have already provided financial, military and humanitarian assistance. This will continue and it will increase,” she told a joint briefing with Ruslan Stefanchuk, Chairman of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, or parliament.
Stefanchuk said they had discussed continuing international sanctions on Russia, humanitarian and military aid for Ukraine and procedures for EU accession.
The prime ministers of EU member states Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia visited Kyiv last month in a show of solidarity with Ukraine. EU countries are among those that have imposed sanctions on Russia over its invasion.
(Additional reporting by Max Hunder, Writing by Timothy Heritage, Editing by Alessandra Prentice)