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Ukraine's Zelenskiy invited to take part in EU summit

FILE PHOTO: Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and European Council President Charles Michel speak during EU summit, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine February 3, 2023. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has been invited to take part in a summit of European Union leaders, the EU said on Monday, amid reports he could be in Brussels as soon as this week.

Charles Michel, the president of the European Council of the EU's national leaders, invited Zelenskiy "to participate in person in a future summit," a spokesman for Michel tweeted.

The spokesman, Barend Leyts, did not say when Zelenskiy might take up the invitation and specified that no further information would be provided "for security reasons".

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends a joint news briefing with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (not seen), as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, ahead of EU summit in Kyiv, Ukraine February 2, 2023. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

The next EU summit takes place on Thursday and Friday of this week in Brussels. Earlier in the day, multiple media outlets reported that Zelenskiy could attend the summit and may also address a session of the European Parliament.

EU officials had declined to comment on those reports. Some noted that if news of such a visit leaked in advance, it could pose a greater security risk for Ukraine's wartime leader and lessen the chances of him going ahead with the trip.

Zelenskiy's office did not respond to a request for comment on the reports.

If Zelenskiy does visit Brussels this week, it would be only the second foreign trip he has taken since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine last Feb. 24.

In December, Zelenskiy visited Washington to meet President Joe Biden and address the U.S. Congress.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski, Andrew Gray, Ron Popeski and Tom Balmforth; writing by Andrew Gray; editing by GV De Clercq)

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