European Council President Charles Michel has made a visit to Ukraine on Wednesday in a crucial phase of the war to discuss new sanctions against Russia, more weapons to Ukraine to face Russia’s large-scale offensive in Donbass, and Ukraine’s application for EU membership.
His visit followed recent solidarity visits by leaders from EU member states and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s visit on April 8 when she handed over a questionnaire to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on its application.
Before Michel met Zelensky, he went to Borodyanka and Dmytrovka, two towns in the Kyiv region which were particularly hard hit by Russian attacks and suffered massive destruction.
“There are no words to elaborate what I feel, not as President of the European Council, but as a father, as a human being,” he said. “These are atrocities. These are war crimes. They must be punished. It will be punished. They must pay for what they have done there, and in many other cities and other locations in Ukraine.”
His thoughts also went to the soldiers and the civilians in the Donbass, in Mariupol and in other cities “who are fighting for their lives, who are fighting for the sovereignty of Ukraine. And I know very well, they are fighting for our European values, for freedom, for democratic principles.”
At the joint conference with Michel, the Ukrainian president said that the situation in Mariupol is worsening and doubted that any help could reach the city. “I don’t know when we can free Mariupol,” he said. It can be done militarily, but for this, Ukraine needs heavy weapons and artillery, or diplomatically but for this, Russia must be ready for a peaceful settlement.