Strasbourg, March 14 (TASR-correspondent) – The plenary session of the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) in Strasbourg on March 11 and 12 was marked by the war in Ukraine, with Ukrainian nationals, MPs and war refugees coming to the meeting to talk directly about Russia’s aggression and Ukraine’s aspiration to be part of the EU’s future.
Mariya Mezentseva – a member of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada for the city of Kharkiv and member of the Ukrainian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe – told the Slovak media before she took the floor in the EP that during the more than two weeks of war, Ukrainians have witnessed bombardment of civil infrastructure, including hospitals for children, blood transfusion stations, schools and kindergartens.
“We are being accused by Russia that Ukraine is producing biological weapons and that we are hiding chemical weapons in the basements of schools, universities and hospitals. Under the cover of these claims, they bomb civilian targets,” she described the situation.
According to her, Russian President Vladimir Putin does not care who is affected by the war, nor does he pity the people of his own country because he knowingly sends young Russian soldiers to their deaths. Mezentseva noted that Ukraine has reported that the victim count of Russian soldiers is approaching 20,000. Already on the second day of the invasion, Ukraine created a special website that allows Russians to see what is taking place in Ukraine and to learn whether their relatives and friends are among those who’ve died in the conflict.
“The claim that they have come to denazify us or save us from nationalists doesn’t hold water. We don’t need any rescue from anyone, our effort was to regain all the occupied territories in the Donbas and the annexed Crimea,” Mezentseva explained. According to her, no one believed that Putin would dare to invade the whole of Ukraine.
Mezentseva said that Ukraine is perceived around the world as a democratic country and now as a symbol of freedom and solidarity. She claimed that Ukrainians are closely following the decisions of EU institutions, including on the possibility of Ukraine’s accelerated accession to the Union, and expressed the hope that the EU public will be convinced by Ukraine’s domestic roadmap for European integration.
Ukrainians, she said, appreciate the massive humanitarian assistance provided to them by the EU. The MP expressed the hope that EU countries will continue to provide arms to Ukraine. “This is not our war, this is unjustified aggression against us and against the whole world,” she remarked.