On 24 February 2022, Russia began a military invasion of Ukraine, in a major escalation of the conflict that had begun in 2014. Shortly before, on 21 February, Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent. On 1 March the European Parliament held an extraordinary plenary session in Brussels to assess Russia’s military assault on Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Speaker of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada (parliament) Ruslan Stefanchuk spoke live from Kiev.
The European Parliament President Roberta Metsola was in Kyiv on 1 April to express the European Union´s support of the Ukrainian people and to condemn the unjustified Russian attack. She travelled on the invitation of the Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament Verkhovna Rada, Ruslan Stefanchuk.
Since the beginning of the invasion, the EU has adopted several packages of restrictive measures to Russia’s unprecedented and unprovoked military attack against Ukraine. On Wednesday 8 June, Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada Speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk adressed Parliament in the Strasbourg hemicycle.