“These are powerful steps. But it was a little late.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has thanked the European Union for its support of his country during the Russian invasion, though criticised leaders for arguably taking too much time to apply sanctions.
Speaking via video link on Thursday during the EU summit in Brussels, Zelensky stated that if the sanctions on Russia had been applied as a preventative measure, it could have deterred Vladimir Putin from starting the war.
During his speech, President Zelensky listed all the countries in the EU, appearing to offer quick-fire thoughts on their overall support of Ukraine, during which Ireland was somewhat dismissed.
“Austria, together with Ukrainians – it is an opportunity for you, I’m sure of it,” Zelensky said before adding;
“Ireland – well, almost.”
When specifically addressing the European Union, Zelensky began by thanking leaders for uniting around Ukraine.
“But I want to say that it was done in one way or another,” he noted. “But once again, the main thing is that you are united and we really appreciate that.
“You have applied sanctions. We are grateful. These are powerful steps. But it was a little late.
“Because if it had been preventative, Russia would not have gone to war,” Zelensky contended.
“At least no one knows for sure. There was a chance. You blocked Nord Stream 2. We are grateful to you and rightly so. But it was also a little late. Because if it had been in time, Russia would not have created a gas crisis.”
Referring to the process of admitting Ukraine into the European Union, Zelensky’s plea was simple:
“Here I ask you – do not be late. Please.”
Zelensky noted that EU leaders have seen for themselves “who is worth what” over the past month of conflict, stating that Ukraine’s entry into the European Union should represent a foregone conclusion.
“At least you have everything for that,” he added before identifying individual nations and offering a quick soundbite on each, including Ireland.
“Lithuania stands for us. Latvia stands for us. Estonia stands for us. Poland stands for us. France – Emmanuel [Macron], I really believe that you will stand for us. Slovenia stands for us. Slovakia stands for us.
“The Czech Republic stands for us. Romania knows what dignity is, so it will stand for us at the crucial moment. Bulgaria stands for us. Greece, I believe, stands with us. Germany… a little later. Portugal – well, almost.
“Croatia stands for us,” Zelensky continued.
“Sweden – yellow and blue should always stand together. Finland – I know you are with us. The Netherlands stands for the rational, so we’ll find common ground. Malta – I believe we will succeed.
“Denmark – I believe we will succeed. Luxembourg – we understand each other. Cyprus – I really believe you are with us. Italy – thank you for your support! Spain – we’ll find common ground.
“Belgium – we will find arguments. Austria, together with Ukrainians – it is an opportunity for you, I’m sure of it. Ireland – well, almost.
“Hungary… I want to stop here and be honest, once and for all. You have to decide for yourself who you are with.”
President Zelensky is due to address Dáil Éireann and the Seanad next month, after accepting an invitation from the Ceann Comhairle.