Italy wants Ukraine in EU, PM Draghi says during Kyiv visit

In 1st trip to Ukraine since Russia’s war, leaders of Italy, France, Germany and Romania reiterate their strong backing to Ukrainian people.

Italy wants Ukraine in EU, PM Draghi says during Kyiv visit

Italy wants Ukraine in the European Union, Prime Minister Mario Draghi said in Kyiv after meeting President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis on Thursday.

"The most important message of our visit is that Italy wants Ukraine in the EU, it wants it to have the status of candidate and it will keep this position in the upcoming European Council," Draghi said, adding that the process to include Ukraine in the EU was “a road to be travelled on, not only a step."

The four European leaders traveled to Kyiv to show their support to Ukraine and its leader for the first time since Russia’s war that began late February.

At a joint press conference, the Italian premier said the EU wanted peace, but “Kyiv must be able to defend itself from Moscow's aggression.”

Before heading to the Ukrainian capital, the leaders visited the heavily-hit city of Irpin, where “I felt horror and hope, hope for reconstruction and the future," Draghi said.

The Italian premier added that it would take two weeks to demine Ukrainian ports and allow the exports of grain, as well as humanitarian corridors, making the harvest available at the end of September and imposing stringent deadlines.

"We must create safe corridors with the utmost urgency for grain to avert a catastrophe,” Draghi said, noting that the only way was a UN resolution regulating navigation in the Black Sea, “which Russia has so far refused."

Draghi said Italy would back an investigation over suspected Russian war crimes, which he firmly condemned.