At the summit, Ukrainian President Zelensky has responded to tensions on Ukraine’s border and called on the EU to impose sanctions on Russia. Although Russia was not mentioned directly in the official statement, there is no doubt that it was “in the background” of the entire summit.
For the first time, Belarus did not participate in the Eastern Partnership summit due to the situation with irregular migrants being used as a hybrid weapon against borders with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. On the other hand, the opposition democratic leader of Belarus, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, visited Brussels and met outside the official summit negotiations with several leaders of member states and representatives of the EU institutions. In this regard, the European Union has expressed its deep concern over the situation in Belarus and has supported its democratic civil society.
One of the main topics discussed during the summit was the concept of the Russian sphere of influence on the Eastern Partnership countries. EU member states fundamentally reject it and insist that the EaP countries are free to choose their strategic direction. However, by conducting coercive policy towards the states of the former Soviet Union, Russia makes it difficult to join the Euro-Atlantic structures.
EaP leaders welcomed the EU’s efforts to intensify its engagement and strengthen its role in conflict prevention, resolution, and building mutual trust between states. The Union commended the initiative of the three partners – Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, which declared their aim to work to improve cooperation with the EU. They also joined the Horizon Europe research and innovation program (2021-2027). Together with the EU, partners have reaffirmed the importance of strengthening strategic communication for building resilience, including the fight against misinformation and information manipulation.