Zelensky says Ukraine not buffer between West, Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attends a joint press conference with his counterparts from Lithuania and Poland following their talks in Kyiv on February 23, 2022. SERGEI SUPINSKY / AFP

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky greeted his country’s status as a candidate to join the European Union (EU) as a turning point in a video address released on Friday.

“Ukraine is not a bridge, not a cushion between the West and Russia, not a buffer between Europe and Asia, not a sphere of influence, not a grey zone, not a transit country,’’ he said.

Ukraine is a “future equal partner for at least 27 EU countries’’, he said,

No longer a third country but will become a member of the EU.

The decision would change history, parliamentary leader Ruslan Stefanchuk said in the video.

“We cannot change geography. Russia will continue to be our neighbour, but in this case, history has defeated geography,’’ he said.

As a candidate country, Ukraine had new prospects, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said, with access to new EU financial assistance programmes.

He expressed hopes for new investments and jobs.

“From now on, our state will not only adopt the European experience but can also influence the industrial policy of the European Union,’’ he said, greeting Ukraine’s integration process as irreversible. (Xinhua)

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