Ukrainian President Zelenskyy arrived at a sprawling summit of some 50 European leaders in Moldova on Thursday. becoming the focal point of an event that seeks to quell regional conflicts and shore up unity in the face of Russia’s war.
The summit of the European Political Community, a pan-continental gathering of heads of state and government from 47 countries. Which brings together leaders from European Union nations and others to the 27-member bloc’s south and east. A region pushed to a turning point in its relationship with Moscow by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.
The EU, represented at the summit by the bloc’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel. They want to use the summit to reach out to many Eastern European countries. Who spent decades either within the Soviet Union or under its immediate sphere of influence. However, to bolster the continent’s unified response to Russian aggression.
The choice to hold the summit in Moldova, a former Soviet republic of around 2.6 million people, which is seen as a message to the Kremlin. Which both from the EU and the pro-Western Moldovan government. That received EU candidate status in June of last year at the same time as Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Moldova, Europe’s poorest country which is cradled by Ukraine on three sides. It aspires to join the EU by the end of the decade. It has consistently signaled its support for Ukraine and taken in refugees fleeing the war.
Speaking from the summit venue, a 19th-century castle and vineyard around 35 kilometers (21 miles) from the capital, Chisinau. Moldovan President Maia Sandu said a major aim of the summit was “restoring peace on the continent”. Moreover, protecting democracy in Moldova and Ukraine from threats posed by Russia.