Ukraine-Russia conflict: 16 children killed in Ukraine as president appeals to Europe for EU membership

In a video message which he said he was broadcasting in between missile strikes on Kyiv, President Zelensky said Ukrainians were “fighting for survival”.

Meanwhile, addressing the extraordinary Plenary Session of the European Parliament on “Russian aggression against Ukraine”, European Parliament President Roberta Metsola told MEPs that Europe needed to reduce reliance on Russian gas, crack down on oligarchs and increase defense spending, as well as working to fight the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign.

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President Zelensky said yesterday’s attacks had killed 16 children in Ukraine.

President of the European Council Charles Michel (R) listens to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaking in a video conference as he appears on a screen during a special plenary session of the European Parliament focused on the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the EU headquarters in Brussels, .

“President Putin is going to say that is some kind of operation and we are hitting a military infrastructure,” he said. “But where are our children? What kind of military factories do they work at? What tanks are they going with?

“We have a desire to see all our children alive and I think that is a fair one.”

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He added: “Our people are very motivated – very much so – we are fighting for our rights, for our freedoms, for our life. And now, we’re fighting for survival.

“No-one is going to break us, we’re strong, we’re Ukrainians.”

He said Ukraine was “fighting to be equal members of Europe”. Earlier today, he called on his Telegram channel for Ukraine’s “immediate accession via a new special procedure”.

Yesterday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen insisted that Ukraine belonged in the EU, saying “they are one of us”.

Mr Zelensky reiterated his plea in his virtual address to the European Parliament.

“I believe today we are showing everybody that’s exactly what we are,” he said. “The EU is going to be much stronger with us. Without you, Ukraine will be lonely. We have proven our strengths.

“So do prove you are with us and prove you will not let us go. Do prove that you are indeed European and life will win over death and light will win over darkness. Glory be to Ukraine.”

He described the overnight attacks on Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, when government buildings and an opera house were destroyed in the city’s Freedom Square.

He said two cruise missiles had hit the city in the east of Ukraine, which is around a quarter Russian speaking.

He said: “There were always many Russians there, and there were always warm relations there. More than 20 universities are there. The youth is bright and smart.”

Ms Metsola told MEPs tat the EU needs to diversify its energy systems towards a Europe “that is no longer at the behest of autocrats” and added that Putin’s oligarchs “and those who bankroll him” should no longer be able to use their purchasing power to “hide behind a veneer of respectability”.

Ms Metsola said she would impose a ban on any members of the Kremlin from entering the European Parliament.

“Aggressors and warmongers have no place in the house of democracy,” she said.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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