REUTERS

President of the European Council, Charles Michel, believes there is "no Europe without Ukraine."

"I have come here with a clear message for you and for the people of Ukraine: there is no Europe without Ukraine," Michel told a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv March 3, adding that Ukraine and the EU "share common values: democracy, rule of law, respect for international law, and human rights," according to an UNIAN correspondent.

The EU is Ukraine's "most reliable partner," Michel stressed.

Read alsoZelensky invites Biden to Ukraine to celebrate independence anniversaryThe top official has reaffirmed the EU's unwavering support to Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, within its internationally recognized borders.

He also recalled that on March 2, he was taken to the contact line in Donbas where he "saw with my own eyes the devastating impact of a nearly seven-year conflict on the security situation and on people's lives."

"It’s a tragedy that people continue to die in this war on the European continent in 2021."

Michel has stressed that the full implementation of Minsk agreements remains "essential".

"It is the way forward to peace and we will continue to fully support the diplomatic efforts to restore Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and continue to back the conflict resolution efforts taken by you, Mr President," Michel said, addressing Volodymyr Zelensky.

Read alsoEarly to hope for Ukraine's EU membership prospects: EP approves new reportThe EU, said Michel, expects Russia "to reciprocate Ukraine's constructive spirit" toward Donbas settlement.

"Russia is not a mediator," the European Council president underlined. "It's a party to this conflict."

"Any country must be free to choose its own course without foreign interference," he added. "Ukraine has freely chosen its own Euro-Atlantic course."