Opening the Plenary Session in Strasbourg, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola updated Members on her visit to Kyiv, Ukraine. She said that whilst the decision to go to Kyiv was a difficult one, it meant a great deal to those fighting in Ukraine.
© European Union | European Parliament President Roberta Metsola during a minute of silence for the victims of war
Thank you very much dear colleagues.
I wanted to quickly update you on my visit to Ukraine, to the Verkhovna Rada and our meeting with President Zelenskyy.
It was a difficult decision to go, but it meant a great deal to those fighting in Ukraine, that the European Parliament was present with them. I was proud to take our message to Kyiv and to show that our Parliament stands with them in these dark times.
The atrocities committed by the Russian army in Ukraine are horrific, they are disgraceful and they are shameful. The reality is that the images from Bucha and Irpin are the same as reports from other cities in Ukraine. They underline the level of threat facing Ukraine and the global rules-based world order.
In Kyiv, I was clear. These are war crimes that are perpetrated by war criminals. And that these coordinated acts of inhumanity cannot remain unanswered. And that we will hold all those responsible to account.
Dear colleagues, Ukraine is fighting for our values, in the most impossible conditions. And we have to support them. And concretely, that means that we need an immediate adoption of a new package of forceful sanctions. We need to target those who bankroll and support Putin, and close any still existing loopholes. And Putin's oligarchs, and frankly all his political party members, who must find nowhere to turn to.
Secondly, we need to step up our strategy of making this illegal invasion the costliest mistake that the Kremlin has ever made. The hit to Russia’s economy must be proportionate to the unprecedented atrocities that we are seeing. And our businesses must look elsewhere for growth and we will support them.
Crucially, Europe must speed up a policy of zero dependence from the Kremlin, disentangle Europe from Russian energy supplies, implement binding embargoes and stop indirectly funding those bombs.
Finally, and here is my appeal to all of you, in all your talks, all your statements, all your calls, for Governments and our international partners to act.
We must offer more support to Ukraine, and that means logistical help, more humanitarian aid and more military equipment that they desperately, desperately need. They are fighting for us and they are looking to us for help. And we should not ignore them.
In this regard, I would like you to join me for a minute of silence in memory of the victims of Bucha, the victims of Irpin, and the victims of war, terror and violence.
You can watch the speech here.