During his visit to Brussels on Tuesday, newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said his country still aspires to being a member of both the European Union and the NATO military alliance and that he is open to peace talks with Russia.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg had been waiting to hear the foreign policy aims of the former comedian, who was sworn in as Ukraine’s president last month.
The two-day trip to Brussels marks Zelensky’s first official trip abroad.
On May 20, Zelenskiy was sworn in as the 6th president of Ukraine, which gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Zelenskiy collected 73% of the vote in Ukraine’s presidential election in April, defeating incumbent President Petro Poroshenko.
Standing beside NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels on Tuesday, Volodymyr Zelenskiy said “the strategic course of Ukraine to achieve full-fledged membership in the EU and NATO … remains unchanged.”
Zelenskiy says “armed aggression from Russia is a major challenge” but he stands ready to negotiate with Moscow and respect the Minsk agreement meant to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine.