KIEV, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson discussed Ukraine’s European integration during their meeting in Kiev on Wednesday, the presidential press service reported.
Zelensky and Kristersson talked about cooperation between their countries within European institutions during Sweden’s presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) in the first half of this year.
“Together with the Swedish presidency, we must ensure everything necessary to start negotiations on Ukraine’s membership in the EU this year,” Zelensky said at a press conference after the talks.
Ukraine sees no obstacles to starting EU membership negotiations and hopes for Sweden’s support on this path, Zelensky said.
For his part, Kristersson noted that Ukraine is a priority for Sweden’s foreign policy and its presidency of the Council of the EU.
“It is very important to ensure that the international community continues to support Ukraine, its territorial integrity and independence,” Kristersson stressed.
He praised the progress of reforms that Kiev has made on the road to integration with the EU and expressed his belief that Ukraine could become a full member of the political bloc.
The parties also touched on military support for Ukraine amid the conflict with Russia, including strengthening air defenses.
Zelensky said Sweden has recently allocated about US$1 billion in defense aid to Ukraine and has become one of the main suppliers of critical equipment to restore Ukraine’s energy infrastructure damaged by Russia’s attacks.
The agenda of the meeting also included discussions on the reconstruction of Ukraine and bilateral cooperation in the energy sector and the economy.
Kristersson arrived in Kiev earlier in the day for his first visit to Ukraine as Swedish Prime Minister.
In June 2022, EU leaders accepted Ukraine as a candidate for membership in the bloc.