Volodymyr Zelensky visits Slovakia and Turkey after the Czech Republic

The Czech authorities promise further support to Kyiv in repelling Russian aggression, including deliveries of military helicopters, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said after talks in Prague with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. “Ukraine is also fighting for us, for the security of all of Europe”, Fiala stressed.

Following the meeting, it also became known that the Czech Republic will provide Ukraine with artillery shells and help with the training of Ukrainian pilots to fly modern Western military aircraft. The countries signed a memorandum on cooperation in the military and technical sphere.

The Czech Prime Minister said that Ukraine’s future is tied to the European Union and NATO. “We do not know when the war will end, but what we know now is that we must open the doors to the EU and NATO to the brave people of Ukraine”, Fiala said.

In his turn, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Ukraine should do everything possible to start negotiations with European structures on joining the bloc. Zelensky also noted that Ukraine needs long-range weapons to confront the Russian army invading its territory. “Without long-range weapons it is difficult not only to conduct offensive actions, but also to provide defense”, Zelensky added.

On Thursday night, Volodymyr Zelensky told a news conference after talks in Prague with President Petr Pavel that it would be “ideal” for Ukraine to be invited to join NATO at the Union summit in Vilnius on July 11-12. Pavel said at the same press conference that the moment the war is over would be important for Ukraine to begin talks about joining the North Atlantic Alliance. According to him, it would also be in the Czech Republic’s interest, as would Ukraine’s accession to the European Union.

Prior to his visit to the Czech Republic, Volodymyr Zelensky held talks in Bulgaria on July 6, and from Prague he stopped in the Slovak capital Bratislava – on his way to Turkey. In Bratislava his talks with President Zuzana Chaputova are expected. In Istanbul, he is scheduled to meet with Turkish leader Recep Erdogan. According to Turkish sources quoted by Reuters, the talks will discuss, among other things, the prospects for further prisoner exchanges with Russia and the fate of a grain deal with Moscow for the export of Ukrainian agricultural products from Black Sea ports.

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