KYIV: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Russia was likely to intensify its “hostile activity” this week, as Kyiv awaits a historic decision from the European Union on its membership application.
Nearly three months after Russia launched a bloody invasion of his country, Zelensky said there had been “few such fateful decisions for Ukraine” as the one it expects from the EU this week.
“Only a positive decision is in the interests of the whole of Europe,” he said in his evening address Sunday.
“Obviously, we expect Russia to intensify hostile activity this week … We are preparing. We are ready,” he continued.
Moscow’s forces have been pummelling eastern Ukraine for weeks as they try to seize the Donbas region, after being repelled from other parts of the country following their February invasion.
On Friday, Brussels backed Kyiv’s bid for EU candidate status after the heads of the bloc’s biggest members – France, Germany and Italy – paid a visit to the Ukrainian capital.
Zelensky visits southern Ukraine front
Ukraine could join the list of countries vying for membership as early as this week, when member state leaders meet at a Brussels summit.
NATO’s chief Jens Stoltenberg meanwhile warned that the war could grind on “for years” and urged Western countries to be ready to offer long-term military, political and economic aid.
“We must not weaken in our support of Ukraine, even if the costs are high – not only in terms of military support but also because of rising energy and food prices,” Stoltenberg told German daily newspaper Bild.
Ukraine has repeatedly urged Western countries to step up their deliveries of arms, despite warnings from nuclear-armed Russia that it could trigger wider conflict.