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Michel says the Commission’s opinion on Ukraine’s entry into the bloc will be available by the end of June
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday urged the European Union to adopt an embargo on Russian oil and gas in subsequent sanctions, noting that the response to Moscow “will not be tough enough if the bloc does not.” step not taking “.
“We want the next sixth package of sanctions to be powerful, and we call for a full embargo on Russian energy, including oil and gas imports,” he assured at a press conference with European Council President Charles Michel, who was surprisingly visiting the country to meet Zelenskyy amid an escalation of conflict in the east of the country.
According to Ukraine’s president, the EU has room to “complete” aspects of the sanctions and has warned that if they don’t affect Russian oil and gas, the sanctions “will not be tough enough” and the package will be “empty”. “. “We must do everything to deprive Russia of the opportunity to finance the war,” he said.
Zelensky has also called for European sanctions to tighten the fence against Russia’s banking system and for more companies to be disconnected from the SWIFT transfer system.
For his part, Michel recalled that in his opinion an embargo on oil and gas was to be expected “sooner or later” at European level and insisted on redoubling pressure on the Kremlin for military aggression.
“We have decided on many measures, but it is not enough and that is why we continue to work on increasing the pressure,” said the former Belgian prime minister, who stressed that the 27 must ensure that the sanctions punish Russia and not them Member States themselves.
Regarding European military support, after the EU activated the European Peacekeeping Mechanism for the first time to pay for the shipment of war material to a country at war, the Ukrainian President stressed that Kyiv needed “modern weapons” and asked the EU to provide them to deliver “missing” equipment to the country.
In this sense, Zelenskyy focused his message on the type of weapons that are “priority” for Ukraine and arrive “on time”.
In any case, without wanting to give any details about the supplies of arms provided by Western countries, the Ukrainian leader assured that the supply of materials “takes a temperature” and mentioned that European countries are providing fighter jets to the Ukrainian army.
MICHEL SET THE BRUSSELS OPINION FOR JUNE
Additionally, during the meeting, Michel and Zelensky discussed Ukraine’s progress in joining the Community Club after Kyiv completed the first part of the membership questionnaire in just ten days.
This document is at the heart of the European Commission’s Opinion on the options for an EU accession country, an Opinion that Brussels has already promised to draft quickly and which the President of the European Council has scheduled for June.
“We will have this opinion from the Commission by the end of June and it is my responsibility to assess whether we can put this issue on the agenda of the European Council,” Michel assured, adding that he had “strong support” from the EU -Commissions perceive twenty-seven to support Ukraine on the European path.
“You show day after day that you are fully committed to democratic principles,” added the former Belgian Prime Minister.
While recognizing that there are different sensitivities within the 27 regarding enlargement policy, he has assured that the purpose of the meeting with Zelensky was to discuss “concrete elements” to ensure that progress is made on the European path from Kyiv be achieved.
Two weeks ago, on her trip to Ukraine, President of the European Executive Ursula von der Leyen promised to speed up procedures to get the opinion as soon as possible, another sign of support for Kyiv in the face of the Russian invasion.
Once Brussels’ technical opinion is known, the matter will be referred back to the 27, who will have to decide on next steps in a summit at Heads of State or Government level. The EU Commission has avoided setting deadlines for now, but work could be ready by June’s regular summit if all parties move forward as quickly as promised.