Zelensky may visit Brussels, in his second known trip abroad since Russia’s invasion last year.
BRUSSELS — President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine could visit Brussels on Thursday to meet with European Union leaders arriving in the Belgian capital for a long-planned summit.
As part of such a visit, Mr. Zelensky would likely address the European Parliament on Thursday, according to an email from the parliament’s secretary general to European lawmakers that was reviewed by The New York Times. Mr. Zelensky’s possible presence, which hinges on security arrangements, was reported earlier by The Financial Times.
Charles Michel, the president of the European Council of member nation leaders, invited Mr. Zelensky to participate in person at “a future summit.” The invitation was announced in a Twitter post from a spokesman for Mr. Michel, who did not specify any details of the invitation or its timing.
Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said on a state news broadcast on Monday night that his department was working on a number of possible visits by Mr. Zelensky, “but when and where they will take place, you will find out from the president himself and from his office,” according to the Ukrinform news agency.
A visit this week, if it happens, would be the Ukrainian leader’s second known trip outside his country since Russia invaded nearly a year ago. In December, Mr. Zelensky visited Washington to meet with President Biden and deliver an emotional plea to Congress.
Last month, Ukraine received more heavy military aid from the United States, as well as the promise of Abrams tanks.
Mr. Zelensky’s mission to Brussels would be a little different. As he did during visit by top E.U. brass to Kyiv last week, Mr. Zelensky would most likely be trying to shore up political support as the E.U. deals with the economic fallout of the war and the cost of hosting more than four million Ukrainian refugees.
European nations have largely closed ranks behind Ukraine, in some cases at great cost to their economies, including by severing their energy links to Russia. They have also dealt with the fallout of ratcheting up the economic costs of the war for the Kremlin through sanctions — while Mr. Zelensky has been pushing for more, and better enforced, economic penalties for Moscow.
Ukraine was granted E.U. candidate status in June, but the recent visit by European leaders to Kyiv underscored that it is unlikely to be admitted to the club soon. Mr. Zelensky’s request for an expedited process has also fallen flat.
Still, Mr. Zelensky needs E.U. funding to keep his embattled country running and avoid a default on its debts. And his country will need enormous sums of funding to ultimately rebuild.