The ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict, which has now entered its 20th month, has seen minimal movement on the extensive frontlines, leading a senior Ukrainian official, President Volodymyr Zelensky, to declare this week that the situation is at a standstill. While addressing a press conference in Kyiv with EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, President Zelensky stated, “Time has passed, people are tired… But this is not a stalemate.”
President Zelensky also rejected the notion that Western countries were pressuring Kyiv to engage in negotiations with Russia, despite reports of discussions between U.S. and EU officials regarding potential talks. He clarified, “No one among our partners is pressuring us to sit down with Russia, talk to it, and give it something.”
The conflict has faced challenges in maintaining international attention, with President Zelensky noting that the war between Israel and Hamas had diverted focus away from Ukraine, which he suggested was one of Russia’s objectives. He stated, “Of course, it’s clear that the war in the Middle East, this conflict, is taking away the focus. We have already been in very difficult situations when there was almost no focus on Ukraine. I am absolutely sure we will overcome this challenge.”
Despite the prolonged conflict, Ukraine’s supporters, including the United States, have reaffirmed their commitment to providing military and financial assistance to Kyiv until the resolution of the conflict.
President Zelensky’s remarks came as EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen visited Kyiv to discuss Ukraine’s progress toward joining the European Union. Ukraine received EU candidacy status several months after Russia’s invasion last year, but the path to EU membership remains challenging.
During the visit, von der Leyen acknowledged Ukraine’s achievements in various areas, including justice system reforms and efforts to reduce the influence of oligarchs. She expressed confidence that Ukraine would progress with the accession process when these reforms were fully implemented. The EU Commission has proposed an additional €50 billion ($54 billion) in funding for Ukraine until 2027, with overwhelming support from EU member states, except for Hungary and Slovakia.
The EU Commission is set to submit a progress report on Ukraine and other EU hopefuls, Moldova and Georgia, ahead of a summit of the EU bloc in December.