Volodymyr Zelenskyy is mulling a trip to Brussels later this week, only days after hosting a group of senior EU leaders in Kyiv.
According to several people briefed on the discussions, tentative preparations are underway to host the Ukrainian president on Thursday, with Zelenskyy slated to address the European Parliament and meet over lunch with EU leaders at a scheduled European Council summit.
The trip would mark Zelenskyy’s second excursion outside the country since Russia invaded Ukraine last February. He traveled to Washington, D.C., in December to plead for more financial and military help from the United States.
European Council President Charles Michel made the case for Zelenskyy to visit Brussels during his trip to Kyiv on January 19, according to a senior EU source, but Ukrainian officials did not commit to a visit at the time. Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen then discussed the idea again with Zelenskyy and Ukrainian officials while visiting Kyiv last week.
Zelenskyy seemed to play down the possibility during a Friday press conference in Kyiv alongside the two EU leaders, saying there is a “very significant risk” attached to him visiting Brussels.
Getting Zelenskyy to Brussels would be a huge security challenge.
A European Council spokesman and a European Commission spokesman declined to confirm the possible visit, noting there is an open invitation to Zelenskyy to visit Brussels.
One official close to the discussions told POLITICO that it is more likely than not that Zelenskyy would make the trip but cautioned that no final decision has been made.
The format for Thursday’s summit is still in flux, with the European Council expected to brief leaders on scheduling plans later on Monday.
During last week’s EU-Ukraine summit — the first to take place in an active war zone — Zelenskyy implored the bloc to take a tougher stance against Russia when it comes to sanctions, and he urged reluctant countries to back sanctions on individuals linked to Russian nuclear energy company Rosatom.
He also called for Ukraine’s membership bid to join the EU to be accelerated.
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