“Ukraine is already on its way to the European Union (…) When this question is asked, I ask you, I ask you once again, to support us on this path”, insisted Volodymyr Zelensky, who was speaking in a videoconference intervention in the Portuguese parliament.
“We are the furthest east and you the furthest west, but we both know that the values we stand for are the same”, stressed the President of Ukraine, in a solemn session with high state entities and representatives of the Ukrainian community in the galleries.
The position, at first, of the Portuguese Government regarding Ukrainian entry into the European Union (EU) generated some discomfort, after the Prime Minister, António Costa, stated that this accession was not what Ukraine needed at the moment, due to the length and unpredictability of the process.
During the European Council summit on March 24, Zelensky would individually assess each of the positions of the 27 European leaders and, with regard to Portugal’s position, he was synthetic, using only three words: “Well, it’s almost…” .
The following day, the Ukrainian ambassador to Portugal, Inna Ohnivets, in an interview with Rádio Renascença, reinforced the President’s words, saying that Ukraine was waiting for “a more active position from the Portuguese Government” on the matter.
When addressing Portuguese deputies and high-profile guests, with the presence of the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and the Prime Minister, António Costa, Zelensky thanked the humanitarian support, the reception of thousands of Ukrainians fleeing from the war, but asked for more military, diplomatic and political support.
To defend “independence, security, democracy” Ukraine has the support of Portugal, said the President of Ukraine, who also said he hoped that the Portuguese authorities could convey this message to other people, specifically referring to Portuguese-speaking African countries.
“I ask you to fight against Russian propaganda using influence in those countries that are close to Portugal,” he insisted.
Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde abstained in the vote at the United Nations General Assembly, on 7 April, on a resolution that approved by 93 votes in favour the suspension of Russia from the Human Rights Council, due to alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Ukraine.