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EU leaders 'welcome' Ukraine's application to join bloc, Zelenskyy delivers stirring speech

Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Posted at 8:36 AM, Mar 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-01 11:20:54-05

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a passionate plea via videolink directly to EU officials in which he called for support and urged the Russian military to leave Ukraine.

According to The Guardian, Zelenskyy asked leaders of the bloc to "prove that you are with us" and appealed to them to help "light win over darkness."

"We're fighting just for our land and for our freedom, despite the fact that all the cities of our country are now blocked, nobody is going to enter and intervene with our freedom and country, believe you me," Zelenskyy said. "Every square of today — no matter what it's called — is going to be called today 'Freedom Square,' in every city of our country nobody's going to break us. We're strong. We're Ukrainians."

Zelenskyy was referring to a large explosion Monday that occurred at "Freedom Square" in the city of Kharkiv. Several buildings, including a government building, were damaged.

Zelenskyy's comments came a day after he signed an official application for Ukraine's membership in the European Union.

On Tuesday, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola "officially welcomed Ukraine's application to join" the 27-nation bloc.

"The message from Europe is clear: We will stand up. We will not look away when those fighting in the streets for our values face down Putin's massive war machine," Metsola said, according to NPR.

However, Chairman of EU leaders Charles Michel referred to Zelenskyy's application as "symbolic." He said that the bloc would have to look further at Ukraine's application before weighing its "legitimate" request.

"The council [of EU governments] will have to seriously look at the symbolic, political and legitimate request that has been made and make the appropriate choice in a determined and clear-headed manner," Michel said, according to Aljazeera.

According to Politico, despite support from prominent EU politicians like Metsola and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, no country can be added to the bloc without unanimous approval from its 27 member nations, who have been divided on expanding the EU in years past.

Five countries, including Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey, are currently official candidates for EU membership.