Ukraine’s Zelenskyy signs security pact with EU during Brussels visit

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The Ukrainian leader’s visit to Brussels during a summit of EU leaders came days after the country held its first membership talks with the bloc.

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The European Union on Thursday signed a security agreement with Ukraine, pledging to continue providing the war-torn country with military, financial, diplomatic and humanitarian support over the long term.

“I would also like to thank you for the security agreement,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told EU leaders gathered in Brussels for a summit.

“I invite everyone in Europe who is still on the sideline of the security war to join us,” he added.

On the EU side, the agreement was signed by European Council President Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the Commission.

Michel said in an X post shortly after the signing ceremony that “these commitments will help Ukraine defend itself, resist destabilisation, and deter future acts of aggression” and that they form “more concrete proof of the EU’s unshakeable resolve to support Ukraine for the long haul.”

Zelenskyy also signed bilateral security agreements with Lithuania and Estonia, adding to those he has already struck with other EU member states including France and Germany.

Weapons and reforms

Under the EU-Ukraine agreement, the bloc pledges to provide “predictable, long-term and sustainable support for Ukraine’s security and defence”, to continue training Ukrainian security and military forces, to boost cooperation between Ukrainian and European defence industries, and to strengthen cooperation to counter hybrid and cyber threats as well as foreign information manipulation and interference.

One key pledge is to “speed up and intensify the delivery of all necessary military assistance”. But the 12-page document only mentions funding for 2024 through the Ukraine Assistance Fund – worth €5 billion – with no further commitments for following years.

It only notes that “further comparable annual increases could be envisaged until 2027, based on Ukrainian needs and subject to political guidance by the Council.”

So-called “wider security commitments” also plan for EU support to Ukraine’s accession and reform process, predictable financial support for reconstruction and modernisation, gradual integration in the single market, “continued readiness” to impose sanctions on Russia, and to “take the work forward towards the use of the revenues from Russia’s immobilised assets to support Ukraine”.

‘Ukraine is ready’ for next accession steps

Zelenskyy also used his time with EU leaders to reiterate calls for more military assistance, especially air defence systems, which he said were needed “urgently on the battlefield”.

“Artillery and shells and fulfilment of every promise is important not only in terms of protecting lives, but also to destroy the Russian illusion that they will achieve something by war,” he also said.

“We must protect Kharkiv and every other city in Ukraine from Russian guided bombs. That is (a) big problem. Our long-range strikes and modern air defence are the key to stopping this terror,” he said.

The EU has struggled to keep up with Zelenskyy’s demands. It failed last year to reach a self-imposed target of providing Kyiv with one million rounds of ammunition. Decisions to provide certain types of equipment, including tanks, long-range missiles, and fighter jets, have been slow in the making.

Zelenskyy nonetheless described himself as “thankful” for the support provided thus far.

The EU this month approved a 14th package of sanctions against Russia, which for the first time targeted supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG). An agreement to use the windfall profits from Russia’s immobilised assets in the EU – estimated at €210 billion – was also struck this month with the first tranche worth €1.4 billion expected to be unblocked shortly.

The first EU accession negotiation talks were also held this week, which Zelenskyy branded a “strong historic step forward”.

“We hope that the next steps will not be delayed, including the official screening procedure. Ukraine is ready to go through all the necessary steps,” he added.

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After leaving the European Council summit, Zelenskyy met with Jens Stoltenberg, the outgoing Secretary General of the NATO military alliance.



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