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EU foreign ministers meet in Kyiv as bipartisan U.S. support for Ukraine wavers


Foreign ministers from the European Union gathered in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, today in what was billed as a historic meeting. The EU's chief diplomat said it was the first time the group had met outside EU territory and in a country at war. NPR's Joanna Kakissis reports from Kyiv that Europe's outreach comes just as bipartisan support in the U.S. appears to be wavering.

JOANNA KAKISSIS, BYLINE: The meeting was informal, but the European Union's chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, said it was highly symbolic. He told reporters in Kyiv that this meeting should be seen as the EU's clear commitment to Ukraine as the country defends itself from Russia's war.


JOSEP BORRELL: It's also sending a strong signal to Russia we are not intimidated by your missiles or drones. Our resolve to support the fight of freedom of Ukraine is firm and will continue.

KAKISSIS: That fight also includes Ukraine's application for European Union membership. Borrell says he strongly supports it.


BORRELL: For sure, the strongest security commitment that we can give to Ukraine is European Union membership.

KAKISSIS: Not all member states agree. Hungary's government does not back the fast-tracking of Ukraine's EU membership, and a pro-Kremlin party was the biggest vote-getter in Slovakia's election last weekend. But Ukraine is eager to join the 27-member bloc. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said his country is pushing through a flurry of economic, judicial and anti-corruption reforms to qualify for EU membership.


DMYTRO KULEBA: (Speaking Ukrainian).

KAKISSIS: "We are hoping to move forward on membership with maximum speed," Kuleba said. "And we hope you will evaluate our reforms with honesty and transparency." Earlier, Kuleba downplayed the exclusion of new U.S. aid to Ukraine in a stopgap spending bill passed by Congress to avert a government shutdown. But he did say the Ukrainians are talking to both Republicans and Democrats about what happens next.


KULEBA: We are now working with both sides of the Congress to make sure that it does not repeat again under any circumstances.

KAKISSIS: The U.S. has given Ukraine more than $75 billion in military, humanitarian and economic assistance since Russias full-scale invasion in February 2022. Joanna Kakissis, NPR News, Kyiv.

(SOUNDBITE OF BIG K.R.I.T. SONG, "OTHER SIDE OF THE GAME") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Joanna Kakissis is a foreign correspondent based in Kyiv, Ukraine, where she reports poignant stories of a conflict that has upended millions of lives, affected global energy and food supplies and pitted NATO against Russia.