Moscow mocks EU ahead of EU summit with Ukraine in Kyiv
Moscow on Thursday accused Europe of wiping out Russia, comparing it to the Nazis, just as German European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arrived in Kyiv for a summit.
Russian officials are set to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad on Thursday with great fanfare, while the Kremlin spends a year trying to present its attack on Ukraine on par with the USSR’s fight against Nazism.
Mrs von der Leyen, for her part, assured the EU’s full support to Ukraine, with its commissioners in Kyiv on Thursday, on the eve of the EU-Ukraine summit, also in the presence of the President of the European Council in the Ukrainian capital. Charles Mitchell.
“It’s nice to be back in Kyiv, for the fourth time since the Russian invasion and this time with my team of stewards,” he wrote on Twitter.
“We are here together to show that the EU stands firmly with Ukraine,” he said.
Ms von der Leyen is accompanied by the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, and 14 other members of the College of European Commissioners, who will meet their colleagues in the Ukrainian government.
– “Strong Symbol” –
The head of the commission should also meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The Commission described the visit and the summit as a “strong symbol” of the European commitment to support Ukraine “in the event of unjustified aggression” from Russia.
Kyiv is keen to speed up the process of joining the EU, but the road promises to be a long one, as reforms are difficult to carry out, especially in the midst of a war.
The head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov, took the opportunity of an interview given to Russian television to launch into a diatribe, accusing Europeans of wanting to end the “Russian question”, at Mrs von der Leyen. Finger raised.
He “declared that the outcome of the war should be Russia’s (…) defeat, such that it would not heal for decades”, lambasting the Russian leader in a televised interview.
“Isn’t this an attempt to solve racism, Nazism and the Russian question?” He compared the situation to the “final solution to the Jewish question”, the Holocaust by the Nazis.
According to him, the West does not use “gas chambers”, but does everything “so that Russia continues to exist as a power”.
President Vladimir Putin first accused Ukraine of Nazism and Western complicity in justifying his invasion nearly a year ago.
Moscow says it wants to “condemn” its neighbour, registering its offensive in the legacy of the Soviet victory over the Nazis during World War II.
Mr. Putin should lead Thursday’s celebrations marking the 80th anniversary of the Soviet victory at the Battle of Stalingrad with great fanfare.
In addition, Lavrov again called “increasingly” Western military support for Ukraine, especially in the event of long-range weapons being delivered.
Ukraine seeks high-precision missiles with a range of more than 100 kilometers to destroy Russian supply lines and address its shortfalls in manpower and weapons.
So far, the West has refused for fear of provoking a new Russian conflict. US President Joe Biden, however, said on Tuesday that he would discuss it with Volodymyr Zelensky.
After long delays, the Europeans and Americans this month gave the green light for deliveries of modernized heavy tanks, even if their numbers are less than Kyiv claims.
Many observers believe that both Kyiv and Moscow are preparing new offensives in late winter and early spring.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said on Wednesday evening, “We do not underestimate our enemy. We see that he is preparing very seriously for the attack.”
“They will try to do something around February 24”, the anniversary of the invasion, he continued.
After a series of humiliating setbacks in the fall, Russia mobilized hundreds of thousands of reservists.
In recent weeks, Russian forces have stepped up their offensive on the eastern front, particularly on Bakhmut, a city Moscow has been trying to conquer since the summer, causing significant destruction.
“If we had electricity, everything would have been easier, we could warm ourselves, cook food,” 75-year-old Natalia Shevchenko told AFP.
“The worst thing is that there is no network. I can’t call my family,” she adds.
Nevertheless, Natalia remains. Despite semi-permanent bombardment and the risk of being encircled by Russian forces, Joe forces him to live “like a mole”, underground in his basement.
“How can I leave?” The old woman said, worrying about the money it would cost her.