Following phone call, Portugal issues statement
Today signals the 500th day since Russia launched its full scale invasion on Ukraine. In marking this ghastly date, and ahead of the NATO summit taking place in Lithuania on Tuesday, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been ‘consolidating positions’ with heads of government in allied countries. One of these was Portugal’s prime minister António Costa.
“Had a phone talk with the prime minister of Portugal @antoniocostapm (…)”, Mr Zelenskyy tweeted this morning. “Coordinated our positions on the eve of the NATO Vilnuis summit. I emphasized the importance of the Alliance’s decisive position regarding future membership and thanked for the positive assessment of Ukraine’s implementation of the European Commission recommendations. We hope to start negotiations on accession to the EU by the end of this year. I thanked @antoniocostapm for willingness to participate concretely in the implementation of three points of the Ukrainian #PeaceFormula – food and energy security, and ecocide”.
As reports explain, Mr Zelenskyy has insisted, “almost weekly, on the importance of Ukraine’s accession to NATO, despite the fact that NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and several leaders of countries that make up the organisation rule out a wartime membership, making it dependent on the arrival of peace”.
Thus, there are no illusions that Vilnius will bring any change in this regard, although the summit is likely to concede to other urgent requests from the Ukrainian government.
In the meantime, shortly after the phone conversation this morning, a joint statement was released, announcing that Portugal “will continue to support Ukraine on its path to future membership and supports Ukraine to become a member of NATO when conditions allow.”
In the document, the government also defends that “the future of Ukraine and its people lies in the European family” and recalls that “the European Union (EU) has already recognised the European perspective of Ukraine and granted it the status of candidate country.
“The Portuguese Republic firmly supports Ukraine in its reform efforts and in fulfilling the necessary requirements to start accession negotiations, and looks forward to a positive report from the European Commission,” the statement continues.
The executive also highlights that “Ukraine and the Portuguese Republic agree on the need to increase collective pressure on Russia through further sanctions to weaken its ability to pursue its illegal war of aggression.“
Social media is full of emotive tributes to Ukraine on this 500th day of struggle, with a number of stunning clips and messages, all repeating permutations of the conviction that “peace and victory will come” and the country will be free.
But just because we’re quiet…
Doesn’t mean we aren’t busy… pic.twitter.com/CqwwxRePN9
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) July 7, 2023