KIEV, March 13. /TASS/. Western countries are helping Ukraine, but Kiev is yet to pay for it, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has said.
"The money allocated by Europe and other nations are spent only on humanitarian aid or weapons. Sometimes we receive weapons directly, but you have to understand that everything has its price," he said. "Whenever the money that we get is mentioned - well, it all came at a cost, it’s not for free."
In late February, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky requested the EU to let his country join the union immediately. Ukraine’s application for EU membership under the accelerated procedure has been accepted, registered and is being considered, Head of the Office of the Ukrainian President Andrey Yermak said on March 1.
The heads of EU states and governments, who gathered for an informal summit in France’s Versailles, expressed their solidarity with Ukraine in a joint statement, but stopped short of granting the candidate status to Kiev. According to the final statement, EU will keep strengthening its ties with Ukraine, which belongs to the "European family." However, according to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the process of Ukraine’s accession to EU may take months or even years.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said that both Russia and the West should provide security guarantees to his country.
"Apart from the Russian Federation, the security guarantees should be provided by other leaders as well," he said in an interview to foreign media on Saturday.
The Ukrainian president said NATO offered no protection to his country.
"What we need now is not words, but security guarantees <…> from countries and unions of countries that are capable of providing them," he said. "We don’t want to wage any more wars."
Zelensky went on to say that Russian-Ukrainian negotiations continue.
"Groups of Ukrainian and Russian negotiators are discussing some matters," he said, adding that his country informed other states about the ongoing talks.
"We have no secrets, we are absolutely frank about this agenda. We informed certain leaders about the questions that are being discussed by the Russian and the Ukrainian sides," Zelensky added.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claimed that all previously agreed humanitarian corridors were functioning on Saturday, and 12,729 people used them to flee violence-hit areas.
"All previously agreed corridors were functional. We managed to evacuate 12,729 people. Humanitarian cargo for Mariupol will be delivered tomorrow," he said in a video address, posted by the presidential office in its Telegram channel.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian deputy prime minister for issues of reintegration on uncontrolled territories, Irina Vereshchuk, said nine out of 14 humanitarian corridors were operating in the reported period.
"Yesterday we managed to evacuate over 7,000 people, but today their number is slightly less than 13,000," she said. "Of course, this is very, very reassuring," she added.
The deputy premier went on to say that the possibility of opening humanitarian corridors from the Lugansk and Kiev regions on Sunday was being considered.
Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev, chief of Russia’s National Defense Management Center, said on Saturday Russia suggested ten humanitarian corridors for March 12 from Kiev, Chernigov, Sumy, Kharkov and Mariupol, whereas Ukraine added one more, towards Zhitomir. "At the same time, not a single humanitarian corridor to the Russian Federation has again been confirmed by Kiev, which once again proves the current government’s indifference to their own people," the general said.
On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a special military operation in response to a request for help by the heads of the Donbass republics. He stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories, but aims to demilitarize and denazify the country. The Russian Defense Ministry said that Russian troops are not targeting Ukrainian cities, but are incapacitating Ukrainian military infrastructure, therefore there are no threats to the civilian population.