Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address Malta’s parliament via video link on Tuesday afternoon against the backdrop of a crucial moment in the Russian invasion of his country.
This follows an invitation made by Foreign Minister Ian Borg during talks with his Ukrainian counterpart last month.
Malta condemned the Russian invasion and supported EU sanctions against Russia, including the suspension of passport sales to Russian citizens.
Malta weather revealed last week that Malta was seeking a compromise with the EU over its proposal to ban the transport of Russian oil on EU-flagged or EU-controlled vessels.
The plans are part of European efforts to wean the bloc off dependence on Russian energy. Sources said the Russian oil shipping ban could have a major impact on the shipping industry. Malta has the largest shipping registers in the EU and its operators would be affected if they could not reach certain ports, sources said.
Russia’s military assault is currently focused on denying Ukraine access to the sea and thus severely limiting the export of its products. With most of the city of Mariupol now occupied, attention turns to the port city of Odessa, which was the target of several missile strikes on Monday.
Zelensky addressed several national parliaments, speaking in English and making several references to historical milestones of the country he would address.
In his speech to the Maltese parliament, he is expected to refer to Malta’s victory over Nazism in World War II. His speech will come a day after Russia held its annual commemoration of its World War II victory over Nazi Germany while claiming that one of the pretexts for invading Ukraine is to stop a revival Nazi.
Zelensky also recalled his country’s contribution to the war against Nazi Germany in a speech on Sunday where he warned that Ukraine would not allow Russia to “own” the World War II victory over the Nazism.
Zelensky is also expected to seek Malta’s support for his country to join the European Union.
European Parliament President Roberta Metsola was the first senior EU official to visit Kyiv after the invasion and she said she looked forward to the day when Ukraine could join the bloc.
In an address to the nation Monday evening, Zelensky noted that Ukraine had just submitted responses to the second part of a special questionnaire to be completed by each country aspiring to join the European Union.
“It usually takes months. But we did it all in a few weeks. It is a document that contains thousands of pages,” he observed. “We expect to receive a positive response in June regarding our country’s acquisition of EU candidate status.”
The Ukrainian President’s address will begin at 4 p.m. There will also be short speeches by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. The session will be broadcast live on Times of Malta.
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