Former US Vice President Pence Shows Support with Visit to Ukraine

news 30-Jun-2023 Europe

Selenskyi Insists on EU Membership

More than 16 months after the start of the Russian war of aggression, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyi has renewed the demand for a concrete EU membership perspective for his country. "Ukraine has an influence on the strength of Europe. That is a fact," Selenskyi said in his evening video address. "And this year, it is time to use this and other facts to strengthen the unity in Europe, starting with the initiation of negotiations on Ukraine's EU membership."

EU Commission to Decide on Talks in October

Meanwhile, the EU has not yet offered extensive security guarantees to Ukraine for the period following a possible end to the Russian war of aggression. At the EU summit in Brussels, the heads of state and government of the member states could only agree to vaguely declare their willingness to contribute to "future security assurances." This term usually does not imply direct military support and is therefore considered weaker than security guarantees.

Pence Visits Ukraine, Expresses Support

The EU officially designated Ukraine as a candidate for membership last year after it was attacked by Russia. So far, Kyiv has fulfilled two out of seven prerequisites for starting accession negotiations, including stronger anti-corruption efforts, particularly at the highest level.

In October, the EU Commission will decide whether to recommend initiating accession talks with Ukraine to the EU heads of state and government. However, this is not a guarantee of membership.

Former US Vice President Mike Pence visited Ukraine, clearly expressing his support for the attacked country. This visit also highlighted his position in the competition for the Republican presidential candidacy for the 2024 election.

"It is of crucial importance for America to continue leading on the world stage. That we stand up against the bare aggression we have witnessed here," said the 64-year-old in an interview with an NBC journalist reportedly conducted in the town of Moshtchun near Kyiv.

Selenskyi Receives Thunberg for Environmental Assessment

Swedish environmental activist Thunberg also visited Kyiv. Together with an international working group, she aims to assess the environmental damage caused by the Russian war of aggression. "We need your professional help," said President Selenskyi, who received the group. He particularly highlighted the devastating destruction in the southern region of Kherson, caused by the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam and subsequent floods since early June.

"I don't think the world's response to this ecocide has been sufficient," Thunberg reportedly said to Ukrainian media. "I don't think any response can be sufficient because there are simply no words to describe this brutality."

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