EU leaders have congratulated comedian Volodymyr Zelensky on his election to the presidency of Ukraine on Monday, saying the vote showed a commitment to the country’s democratic values .
In a joint message to Zelensky, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker welcomed “the strong commitment to democracy and the rule of law that the people of Ukraine have demonstrated throughout the electoral process”.
“This is an important achievement in a complex political, economic and security context, against the background of persistent challenges to the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” they say.
Tusk and Juncker said Zelensky could “also count on the EU’s continued and unshakeable support for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine”.
The 41-year-old comedian, who on Sunday won the presidential election in Ukraine with an overwhelming majority over outgoing Petro Poroshenko, had promised to “break the system” without deviating from the pro-Western course taken in 2014.
During his first press conference after his victory, Zelensky said he wanted to “revive” the Minsk peace process and “to reach a ceasefire”, in Eastern Ukraine where 13,000 people have lost their lives in a conflict between government forces and Russian-backed rebels. The Minsk peace agreement agreement was signed to in February 2015 in the Belarusian capital by the governments of Kiev, Moscow, Paris and Berlin.
Tusk and Juncker added that Zelensky could “count on the strong support of the EU for Ukraine in its reforms”, especially in the energy sector and the fight against corruption.
US President Donald Trump has called the president elect and congratulated the Ukrainian people for a peaceful and democratic vote.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who received Zelensky in Paris shortly before the election, also congratulated him on the phone, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel wished the new Ukrainian president good luck and said she would be happy to welcome him to Berlin soon.