Europe's security is directly related to the security situation in Ukraine, so the Ukrainian state is ready to join the cooperation in the framework of the European Union's initiative to determine 2022 as the year of European defense. This was stated by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a meeting with media representatives following the 23rd Ukraine-EU Summit in Kyiv.
The President noted that the coordination of steps of Ukraine and the European Union to achieve peace in Donbas was one of the key topics of the current Summit. In particular, the President of Ukraine told the participants of the meeting about his phone conversation with Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and President of France Emmanuel Macron that took place yesterday .
"Together with the EU, we share the opinion that the responsibility for the lack of progress in the peace settlement in Donbas lies entirely with Russia, which is undoubtedly a party to the conflict, which is recorded in the Joint Statement today," said Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The President thanked the European Union for continuing the restrictive measures against Russia, but stressed the need to strengthen them.
"The need to strengthen the sanctions pressure is long overdue. The sanctions lists should include all those who took part in the organization and conduct of "elections" to the State Duma of the Russian Federation in the occupied Crimea, the city of Sevastopol and in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine in Donbas. Systemic human rights violations on the temporarily occupied Crimean peninsula should not be ignored as well," the President stressed, calling the decision of the Council of the European Union on sanctions against eight members of the so-called judiciary of the occupied Crimea an important step in this direction.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy also reminded that Ukraine has started implementing the Strategy of Deoccupation and Reintegration of Crimea, creating the Crimea Platform, which has become an important tool for consolidating international support and achieving this goal. He thanked the European Union and EU member states for participating in the platform's inaugural summit and upholding the final declaration.
"This is convincing evidence that the EU will stand side by side with us until Ukraine's territorial integrity is restored," the President concluded.
He also said that the participants of today's meetings agreed to redouble their efforts to release about 450 Ukrainian citizens illegally detained by Russia.
The President of Ukraine also stressed that the key to the independence and national sovereignty of our state is energy security, and the completion of the construction of Nord Stream 2 poses new challenges for Ukraine. With this in mind, today the leaders agreed to launch a high-level strategic energy dialogue between Ukraine and the European Union.
"It is necessary to elaborate a common long-term vision of Europe's energy security," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
For his part, President of the European Council Charles Michel said that the issue of stability and security was extremely important. He stated that the EU continues to condemn the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, and Ukraine can count on the European Union's continued support for territorial integrity and independence.
"We will continue to support all efforts of Ukraine in the framework of bilateral and multilateral cooperation in order to maintain a world order based on the rule of law. Be sure that you have the support of 27 countries, including in the Crimea Platform initiative. We need to mobilize our joint efforts for security," said Charles Michel.
He also noted the need to develop a joint mechanism to counter cyber attacks and ensure security in cyberspace.
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen noted that she and the President of the European Council are in Kyiv today as friends and partners of Ukraine, and assured of the support for the territorial integrity and independence of our state.
"We continue to support the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, we commend your efforts, we support the position of your government, and we call on Russia to take responsibility as a party to the conflict," Ursula von der Layen said.