European Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen arrived in Kyiv with a team of commissioners on Thursday, a day before a Ukraine-European Union summit in the war-torn country.
“Good to be back in Kyiv, my 4th time since Russia’s invasion…. We are here together to show that the EU stands by Ukraine as firmly as ever. And to deepen further our support and cooperation,” she wrote in a tweet.
Good to be back in Kyiv, my 4th time since Russia‘s invasion.
This time, with my team of Commissioners.
We are here together to show that the EU stands by Ukraine as firmly as ever.
And to deepen further our support and cooperation. pic.twitter.com/zf8fvoNKnG
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) February 2, 2023
She is accompanied by 15 commissioners, including the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.
The Commission described the visit as a “strong symbol” of European support for Ukraine “in the face of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified aggression”.
EU countries have staunchly backed Ukraine since Moscow invaded in February, by hitting Russia with waves of economic sanctions and by sending weapons to Kyiv.
In June last year, Ukraine was granted EU candidate status.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday accused the West of wanting to inflict a lasting defeat against Moscow and lashed out against the EU chief.
“Ursula von der Leyen… said that the outcome of the war should be the defeat of Russia, the kind of defeat that for decades, for many decades, Russia cannot restore its economy,” Lavrov said in comments aired on Russian state television.
“Is this not racism, not Nazism — not an attempt to solve ‘the Russian question” Lavrov added, evoking Russia’s victory against Nazi Germany in World War II.