The Wall Street Journal on Thursday quoted US and European officials as saying that the United States is close to agreeing to give Ukraine a long-range missile system, in a move that would tip the balance of Kiev in its fight against Russia.
For his part, European Union leaders, during their summit in Brussels on Thursday, expressed their concern about the risks posed by weakening Vladimir Putin after Wagner’s rebellion sparked the largest political crisis in Russia’s history, and renewed their long-term support for Ukraine.
“Putin poses a greater danger when he is weakened… So, we have to be very careful about the consequences,” EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said, ahead of a summit of EU leaders in Brussels.
“So far, we viewed Russia as a threat because of its great power and the force that was used in Ukraine… Now, we have to look at Russia as a source of danger due to the instability of the internal situation.”
Putin faced his biggest challenge since coming to power in 1999 after Wagner’s boss Yevgeny Prigozhin led a revolt over the weekend.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the revolt would lead to aftershocks.
European leaders’ discussions Thursday will focus on Ukraine, with a planned intervention by video conference by President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The European Union stressed its commitment to support Ukraine in the long term.
Von der Leyen stressed that the importance of doubling our support to Ukraine, whether with military capabilities or financial support.
On June 20, it proposed to member states to approve an aid package of 50 billion Euros to support Ukraine until 2027.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stressed that the summit of European heads of state and government constitutes an opportunity to agree on the way in which we will continue to organize our support for Ukraine.
“You have to be prepared that this will continue for a long time,” Scholz said.
He also called on the Secretary-General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg to provide sustainable assistance to Ukraine, which seeks to join NATO and the European Union.
He warned of the need to continue to support Ukraine so that it remains an independent and sovereign state, otherwise the accession discussions will not be feasible.
On Thursday, Kiev demanded clarification regarding the possibility of joining NATO after the war.
“Ukraine continues to work hard with all NATO allies to convince them that the time has come to clarify its membership in the alliance,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.
On Wednesday, Volodymyr Zelensky demanded that NATO pledge to provide “concrete” elements during its summit scheduled for July 11 and 12 in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius.
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, confirmed that the European Union, for its part, must prepare for Ukraine’s accession and discuss the reforms that must be carried out in order to be able to annex this country.
He admitted in an interview with Agence France-Presse that the discussions will be difficult, adding, “But we shouldn’t wait until the last moment, in the event that the European Commission’s report in December recommended starting accession negotiations with Ukraine”.
Zelensky demands that accession negotiations begin from the end of 2023.
This decision requires the unanimous approval of the 27 member states.
In June 2022, the European Union granted Ukraine candidate status in a symbolic gesture after the Russian invasion.
Nine other countries, including Serbia, Kosovo, Moldova and Türkiye, are also requesting accession to the European Union.
The issue of accession will be at the heart of the discussions of the two upcoming European summits in Granada (Spain) and Brussels at the end of the year.