EU President visited Ukraine and sought protection over missiles

The President of the European Council was forced to take cover from an incoming Russian missile at a meeting in the southern port city of Odessa, Ukraine.

European Council (EC) President Charles Michel paid a surprise visit to the strategic port city of Odessa in southern Ukraine today and met Prime Minister Denys Shmygal. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also attended the meeting via video conference and said “please that the EU supports Ukraine at the highest level”.

Prime Minister Shmygal welcomes EU President Michel (in armour) to Odessa in southern Ukraine today.  Photo: Reuters.

Prime Minister Shmygal welcomes EU President Michel (in armour) to Odessa in southern Ukraine today. Picture: Reuters.

“The meeting was interrupted because the officers present had to take cover when the rocket hit the Odessa region. They continued the meeting in the shelter,” the European Union (EU) official said, adding that Mr Michel used the seaport in the city and “experienced firsthand the impact of conflict on the global supply chain”.

The Russian Ministry of Defense did not comment on this information.

Odessa is the city that has Ukraine’s largest strategic seaport on the Black Sea with a population of around one million. This used to be a relatively peaceful place when Russia launched its military campaign in Ukraine and was a haven for displaced Ukrainians from other regions.

The city of Odessa has recently been subject to constant air raids by Russian forces. Russia’s Defense Ministry confirmed last week that it destroyed a newly built military airstrip in the city and hit an arms cache sent to Ukraine by the US and its allies.

The city is still blocked from the sea by the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet. The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) on May 6 called on all parties to reopen the seaport in Odessa to ensure global food security.

The military situation in Ukraine after 11 weeks of fighting.  Graphic: Washington Post.

The military situation in Ukraine after 11 weeks of fighting. Graphic: Washington Post.

vu appendix (Corresponding AFP)