Fifty European leaders met on Thursday at a summit in Moldova with the Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelensky, in a show of diplomatic force before Vladimir Putin, in this country bordering Ukraine that lives in fear of Russia.
The participants of the meeting are only a few 20 km from Ukraineto send a message of support to these two former Soviet republics.
Since the beginning of May, Russia has multiplied its drone attacks on kyiv. A new bombardment this Thursday against the Ukrainian cital killed at least three people, among them a child. Ukraine accuses Moscow of wanting to “terrorize” the civilian population, although Moscow claims it is attacking military targets.
In the Russian region of Belgorod, bordering Ukraine, there were “uninterrupted shelling” this Thursday, which caused eight injuries. Russia announced the day before the evacuation of hundreds of minors, due to the intensification of the attacks.
“I’m hpy to be here,” Zelenski said on camera in Moldova, before thanking the Moldovan people “for hhave received many refugees from the first day of the war.”
The meeting is being held at Mimi Castle, a wine estate in the town of Bulboaca, 35 km from the cital Chisinau.
A huge forum of countries
The forum of the so-called European Political Community (EPC) is much larger than the European Union (EU), since it includes the 27 members of the blocplus twenty invited countries.
“We are going to reconfirm our support for Ukraine, which is resisting Russian aggression,” Moldovan President Maia Sandu stressed.
As in the first edition in Prague, in October, the meeting will give rise to a very symbolic family photo that will, however, have an absence of weight: the Turkish president Recep Tayyp Erdoganre-elected on Sunday.
The chosen place it is not accidental, given that the meeting takes place a few kilometers from Transnistria, a pro-Russian Moldovan breakaway region.
“Putin’s Russia has excluded itself from this community by launching this war against Ukraine,” said the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell.
“I hope that the presence of so many leaders here, so close to Ukraine, will send a strong message about the unity of many states, not just the European Union, to defend international order“, he added.
The CPE is an informal instance Designed by French President Emmanuel Macron, and which brings together countries with very diverse profiles, such as Armenia, Georgia, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Serbia and Azerbaijan.
The hosts Moldova will show their desire to join the EU.
“Moldova’s place is in the European Union,” Maia Sandu, who received a message of encouragement from the head of the European Commission, said on Wednesday. Ursula von der Leyenwho recognized the “enormous advances” of this former Soviet republic in the necessary reforms with a view to accession.
The question of accession also arises for Ukraine itself. kyiv obtained official candidate status at the same time as Moldova, in June 2022. But the way to go is still long.
The leaders will also talk about the security of Ukraine, while the foreign ministers of the NATO member countries maintain another meeting in oslo to respond to Kiev’s demand to join the Atlantic alliance, something that seems impossible to achieve, although the Atlantic Alliance is considering guaranteeing Ukrainian security for as long as necessary until the country can do it by its own means.
For the Ukrainian president, the “doubts” to welcome Ukraine and Moldova into the military alliance endanger Europe.
“Every doubt that we express is a part that Russia will try to occupy,” he said.
“All European countries that have a border with Russia and do not want Russia to take away a part of their territory must be full members of NATO and the EU“, the president reiterated.
The Moldova rendezvous could help defuse tension in northern Kosovo, where violent incidents broke out this weekend between Serb police and protesters, injuring 30 soldiers from the NATO force.
The Serbs boycotted April municipal elections in four towns, leading to the election of Kosovar Albanian mayors with a share of less than 3.5%.
His inauguration last week set fire to the situation in Kosovo, which unilaterally proclaimed its independence from Serbia in 2008 and whose secession has not been recognized by Belgrade.
A meeting of the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan is also expected, in full negotiation to end their conflict. The two neighboring countries have been fighting for three decades for control of the Caucasian region of Nagorno-Karabakh, located in Azerbaijan and inhabited mostly by Armenians.