1 of 2 | The wall of a building is damaged after shelling at a residential area in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Monday. Photo by Ukraine State Emergency Press Service/EPA-EFE
March 1 (UPI) -- Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky implored the European Union to permit his country into the EU on Tuesday after two Russian cruise missiles struck Freedom Square in Ukraine's second largest city, killing dozens of citizens.
"Yesterday, 16 children were killed and again President Putin is going to say that is some kind of operation and 'we are hitting a military infrastructure,'" Zelensky said of attacks on civilian areas in Kharkiv. "Where are our children? What kind of military factories do they work at? What tanks are they going with?"
The EU translator momentarily lost his composure during the speech, which drew a standing ovation from members of the EU.
"We are fighting just for our land and for our freedom, despite the fact that all our citizens of our country are now blocked. Nobody is going to break us," Zelensky said. "We are strong. We are Ukrainians."
Zelensky, 44, said that his country is also fighting to also be "equal members of Europe."
"I believe that today we are showing everybody that's exactly what we are," he said. "The European Union is going to be much stronger with us that's for sure. Without you, Ukraine is going to be lonely, lonesome. We have proven our strengths. We have proven that, at a minimum, we are exactly the same as you are. So do prove that you are with us. Do prove that you will not let us down. Do prove that you indeed are European and life will win over death and life will win over darkness."
European Commission President Ursula Von der Layen welcomed Zelensky's request, saying "We want them in the European Union."
The process of joining the EU could take years and involves adopting compatible political, judicial and economic systems and gaining unanimous approval, the New York Times reported.
Later in the day, Zelensky tweeted that Russia bombed a Holocaust memorial commemorating between 70,000 and 100,000 massacred by Nazis at Babyn Yar. The memorial sits across from two television towers that Russia bombed, killing five people.
"To the world: what is the point of saying <<never again>> for 80 years, if the world stays silent when a bomb drops on the same site of Babyn Yar?" Zelensky tweeted. "At least five killed. History repeating..."
European Union leaders attend a summit at the Chateau de Versailles near Paris on March 11, 2022. Photo by the European Union/ UPI | License Photo