Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been invited to address the European Council at a summit this week, Council President Charles Michel told CNN’s Christian Amanpur on Wednesday.
In an exclusive interview before Thursday’s meeting, Michael confirmed that “we propose that he address the summit.”
He also said that the Council of Europe was the first assembly that Zhelensky had addressed since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24.
In an interview in Brussels, Michael told Amanpur: “We want to make sure Putin is defeated. That should be the common goal.”
“This is a question of security for the future of Europe and the future of the world.”
Mikhail said he had talked to Zhelensky and the Russian president several times since Russia’s occupation of Ukraine, and hoped they would help “reach a ceasefire and implement an honest approach to negotiations.”
“It is very difficult, because we do not know that the Russian government is honest,” he added. “We are not naive: we believe they want to attack militarily to strengthen their position in the negotiations.”
“But on the other hand, we need to change the relationship of the forces to give President Zhelensky a better position in these direct talks with Russia,” Michael said.
The Council of Europe meeting is scheduled for March 24-25 and is a key feature of the Ukraine agenda. It has been confirmed that US President Joe Biden will attend on Thursday to discuss overseas cooperation between Ukraine and the Atlantic.
Michael also spoke of sanctions, saying the EU should “be prudent” in imposing sanctions on Russia.
“We have decided on unprecedented sanctions against Russia,” he said, adding that “we are targeting oligarchs and Russia’s economic sectors.”
However, the head of the Council of Europe acknowledged that “we do not have a similar situation in Europe and the United States.” “For example, the oil or gas sector. We are more dependent on Europe than we are in the United States.”
“That’s why we have to be smart. The goal is to target Russia, the goal is to hurt against Russia. The goal should not be to hurt us,” he said.
Stressing on Europe’s dependence on Russia for its energy supply, Michael acknowledged that “we are heavily dependent on Russian gas.” However, he added that this was not a recent innovation and that the 2020 European Green Agreement was a long-term solution to over-trust Russia.