Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addresses parliamentarians at Westminster Hall in London, England on February 8, 2023.
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BRUSSELS – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy meets with European leaders on Thursday as he continues his second major trip abroad since Russia invaded Ukraine.
The Ukrainian leader is expected to address the European Parliament on Thursday morning and attend an extraordinary meeting of the 27 EU leaders later in the day.
The discussions in Brussels come after a surprise visit to the UK on Wednesday and a last-minute meeting with French and German leaders this evening in Paris. It is the second time Zelenskyy has left Ukraine since Russia invaded the country on February 24 last year.
The President is using his time abroad to thank allies for their support so far, while calling for further commitments at a time when Ukrainian authorities expect a full-scale Russian offensive.
Zelenskyy brought a helmet of a Ukrainian pilot with the inscription “We have freedom, give us wings to protect it” in London on Wednesday.
Last month, Zelenskyy requested fighter jets from Ukraine’s allies — a request that has yet to receive a green light from Western nations. However, Britain said Wednesday it would train Ukrainian pilots to fly fighter jets, and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said nothing was off the table when it came to helping Ukraine.
In Paris, too, Zelenskyy was very clear with his demands on the French and German heads of state. “The sooner we get long-range heavy weapons and our pilots get modern planes, Emmanuel, the sooner our pilots can get modern planes, Olaf, the more powerful our armored coalition will be,” Zelensky said.