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EU's Metsola backs Ukraine amid Moscow drone allegations

Ella Joyner | Jack Parrock
May 31, 2023

As Moscow blames Ukraine for drone strikes, the head of the EU's legislature, Roberta Metsola, emphasized her support for Kyiv in a DW interview.

Ukraine's President Zelenskiy welcomes European Parliament President Metsola in Lviv
Metsola met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Lviv in MarchImage: UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE/REUTERS

Metsola: Europe will supply Ukraine until Russia leaves

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said Wednesday that the EU stands resolutely behind Ukraine amid Moscow's allegations that Kyiv is responsible for drone attacks on the Russian capital.

"This is not a conflict between two countries. This is one country invading another and taking part of its territory," Metsola told DW's Jack Parrock in an exclusive interview on Wednesday in Brussels.

Asked how comfortable she is with the idea that EU weapons could potentially be used to strike targets in Russia, Metsola said Russia was the one that has gone into Ukrainian territory.

"I think anybody making this argument is forgetting the fact that Russia invaded Ukraine,” she said.

'Until Russia leaves'

The Maltese politician's comments come after Russian officials accused Ukraine of carrying out dozens of drone strikes that wounded two people. A Ukrainian presidential aide denied direct responsibility for the drone strikes, but predicted more to come.

The Ukrainian capital has been attacked by Russian airstrikes 17 times in the past month. Across the country, four people were killed and dozens were injured in the latest wave.

Amid these developments, Metsola emphasized the European Union's resolve to stand with Kyiv no matter what. "Until Russia leaves Ukraine, we are not going to stop supporting Ukraine," she said.

EU financial support

The European Union is spending hundreds of millions of euros to arm Kyiv as it battles Russia, but the question of potential Ukrainian attacks deep into Russian territory are a different matter.

The United States stressed that it was still gathering information following the Moscow incidents, but said it did not support attacks in Russia. So far, most NATO allies have rejected Ukrainian requests for top-end fighter jets because of the potential for dangerous escalation they represent. 

Earlier this month, the European Commission unveiled a plan to ramp up EU bullet production to 1 million rounds within the next year to supply Kyiv, part of a wider to push to increase member state defense spending. The initiative foresees the use of up to €500 million ($530 million) of EU public money.

Asked whether the EU public had been sufficiently consulted on the initiative, Metsola — who hails from the center-right European People's Party parliamentary group — said the spending is justified. "What we're talking about is helping a country that is fighting for our fundamental values and freedoms,” she said, referring to Ukraine.

According to Metsola, EU member states need to adjust to the changed reality. "We've seen that defense spending decreased over the last few years," she said. "And the geo-security situation is what it is."

Drone attack brings Ukraine war to Putin's doorstep

Edited by: Emily Schultheis

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