Europe 1 with AFP 6:39 a.m., February 3, 2023, modified at 6:40 a.m., February 3, 2023

Ukraine is hosting a summit on Friday with European representatives, a "strong symbol" according to the Commission of the support of the twenty-seven "in the face of the unjustified aggression" of Russia.

The country, a candidate for EU membership, has been asking for several days that Russian athletes not take part in the Paris Olympics.

For Washington, the latter could participate, but under a neutral banner.

Candidate for EU membership, Ukraine is hosting a summit on Friday with European representatives, "a strong symbol" according to the Commission of the support of the twenty-seven "in the face of the unjustified aggression" of Russia, which recently regained ground to the east.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen arrived in kyiv on Thursday, accompanied by the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell and around fifteen European commissioners.

Information to remember:

  • Ukraine hosts summit with European representatives

  • Vladimir Putin threatens Westerners with reprisals after their arms deliveries to kyiv

  • Washington is not opposed to the participation of Russian athletes, under a neutral banner, in the 2024 Olympics

"Good to be back in kyiv, my fourth time since the Russian invasion and this time with my team of stewards," she tweeted.

"We are here together to show that the EU stands firmly with Ukraine."

The President of the European Council Charles Michel is also expected, for discussions which will address in particular the steps for Ukraine's accession to the EU, a difficult process that kyiv intends to accelerate.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky felt that his country deserved to start talks "this year" on joining the European Union, to which the country has officially been a candidate since June 2022. "Each step towards a greater Ukraine's integration into the EU is a source of inspiration for our people", he pleaded, believing that international pressure on Russia should increase further.

After new arms deliveries, Putin threatens Westerners with reprisals

Vladimir Putin swore on Thursday to have something to "respond" to Westerners delivering weapons to Ukraine, a threat that comes amid speculation about a new Russian military escalation.

Speaking during the ceremonies for the 80th anniversary of the Soviet victory in Stalingrad, the Russian president drew a new parallel between Russia's offensive against its neighbor and the Second World War.

For Vladimir Putin, the conflict in Ukraine is part of the legacy of the USSR's victory over Hitler.

He accused Ukrainian officials of being "neo-Nazis" orchestrating the "genocide" of Russian-speaking populations.

He said on Thursday that history was repeating itself, with the supply of German tanks to Ukraine.

"It's incredible but German Leopard tanks are threatening us again," insisted Vladimir Putin, who was speaking from Volgograd (ex-Stalingrad, south-west), before adding: "We have something to answer and that will not be limited to armored vehicles".

In the process, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov specified that Russia would use all its potential to respond to Western arms deliveries.

In the fall, Mr. Putin had made similar remarks, interpreted as an allusion to nuclear weapons.

"When new weapons supplied by the + collective West + appear, Russia will fully use its existing potential to respond," said Dmitry Peskov.

Washington for the participation of Russian athletes under a neutral banner in the 2024 Olympics

The United States spoke out on Thursday in favor of the participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes in the Olympic Games under a neutral banner and without national emblems, relaunching a debate which is gaining momentum as the 2024 Paris Olympics approach.

If athletes are invited to an international sporting event like the Olympics, "it must be absolutely clear that they do not represent the Russian or Belarusian states", said White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre.

"The use of Russian and Belarusian flags, emblems or anthems should also be prohibited."

"The United States supported the suspension of sports bodies of Russia and Belarus from international sports federations," she recalled.

The participation, or not, of these athletes in the 2024 Olympic Games is a question as sensitive as it is political.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in late February 2022, Russians and Belarusians have been banned from most global sporting events.