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A two-day summit of European Union leaders dominated by talk of the Ukraine war and boosting defenses continued overnight on June 29-30 with a statement reiterating commitments "to provide sustainable military support to Ukraine for as long as it takes."
The leaders of the bloc's 27 members also said they "stand ready to contribute, together with partners, to future security commitments to Ukraine, which will help Ukraine defend itself in the long term, deter acts of aggression, and resist destabilization efforts."
A majority of the EU's members are also in NATO, and the transatlantic alliance is expected to seek ways to provide nonmember Ukraine additional security guarantees but stop short of full Ukrainian membership at an upcoming NATO summit on July 11-12.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg joined the EU summit and highlighted perceived weaknesses in Russia's leadership that spilled into the open during the June 24 mutiny by Wagner leader Yevgeny Prighozhin and thousands of his mercenaries.
"The mutiny we saw at the weekend demonstrates that there are cracks and divisions within the Russian system," Stoltenberg said. "At the same time, it is important to underline that these are internal Russian matters."
Speaking by video link to the EU gathering, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the recent failed mutiny by the Wagner mercenary group in Russia demonstrated the country's "weakness," adding that this will aid Kyiv in its fight against Moscow's brutal 15-month-old invasion.
"We are seeing their weakness, which we so badly need," he said.
"The weaker Russia is, and the more its bosses fear mutinies and uprisings, the more they will fear to irritate us. Russia's weakness will make it safe for others," he added.
The comments come as Kyiv has said it is making gains in "fierce" fighting in the country's east but also as deadly Russian shelling continues to take a toll on the civilian population in Ukraine.
Zelenskiy has pushed both for additional military aid, especially advanced fighter jets, and NATO membership for his country.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told reporters ahead of the summit that "it's important that we consult and say we're ready to hold on for the long term, with financial and humanitarian support that's necessary for Ukraine but also when it comes to weapons."
In a reference to the June 24 Wagner rebellion, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned ahead of the summit that "a weakened Putin is a greater danger," adding that "Now we have to look at Russia as a risk because of internal instability."
Since launching a counteroffensive earlier in June, Ukraine says it has reasserted control over clusters of villages in the southeast.
The claims could not be independently verified.
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