The European Commission’s President Ursula von der Leyen and her delegation visited Ukraine today and met with its heroic President Volodymyr Zelenskyy amidst the ongoing war there due to the invasion of Russia. It was the fourth time the German politician has visited Ukraine and Zelenskyy since the war began, almost one year ago.
Part of the discussion between these two heads of state regarded Ukraine’s request for membership in the European Union, which the EU accepted for last June for consideration. Ukraine is in the process of meeting the primary requirement of the EU, which is for Ukraine to overcome its recent history of political corruption. The EU and NATO, which latter includes the U.S., has been a big supporter of Ukraine during this worst war in Europe since WWII. Many of these Western countries, especially the U.S., are supplying Ukraine with needed military weapons and equipment in which to ward off its aggressor Russia, a nation which is much larger in both territory and population than Ukraine.
Ms. von der Leyen also announced today that the European Union has now decided to increase its program of training 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers in Poland and Germany, raising that number to 30,000. And NATO members are deciding almost daily to send Ukraine needed tanks. Some are now considering fighter jets as well, something the U.S. has been reluctant to do because Putin has repeatedly threatened publicly to use nuclear weapons if Western nations cross Russia’s “red lines” in aiding Ukraine.
President Vladimir Putin of Russia seeks to restore the ancient Russian Empire by invading Ukraine in much the fashion the Soviet Union did by invading its neighboring Eastern European countries and forcing them to be Soviet satellites. Many of those countries now have become Ukraine’s biggest supporters in Ukraine’s effort to militarily oust Russian forces from Ukraine. This Putin design on Ukraine began in 20214 when Putin’s forces invaded Ukraine’s most prized territory, the Crimean Peninsula, and annexed it to Russia. Putin’s argument is that all of Ukraine once belonged to the Russian Empire centuries ago, and that is what he intends to make happen again. For this Russia should be expelled from among the five permanent members of the United Nations because such aggression goes against UN principles.
The EC’s President von der Leyen impresses me with her wisdom, courage, and expert analysis. Today, she said concerning Putin’s war against its peace-loving neighbor Ukraine, “Putin tried to deny the existence of Ukraine. But what he risks is the future of Russia.” Indeed, the West has imposed a lot of sanctions on Russia since this war began. Many experts claim that no matter how this war ends, Russia will be worse off for it for many years to come.
How will this war in Ukraine turn out? Will Ukraine expel the aggressor Russia? Or will Russia succeed in it’s aim of annexing more of Ukraine’s territory as it did with Crimea and lately with some of Eastern Ukraine? Will Ukraine become a member of the European Union? Time will tell.