EU Parliament leader vows to help Ukraine rebuild

STORY: Roberta Metsola, who took over as the European Parliament's president in January, also said the assembly would support Ukraine's efforts to start the process of joining the European Union.

Metsola, who is Maltese, made three promises to Ukraine.

"First, (President Vladimir) Putin's criminal invasion of Ukraine puts Russia in direct confrontation with Europe, the international community and the rules-based world order. That is not something that we will let him do unchallenged," she said.

"Second, the European Union recognizes your European ambitions and your aspiration to be a candidate country for succession. And you can count on the European Parliament's full support in achieving this goal."

"Third, we will help you rebuild your cities and your towns when this illegal, unprovoked and unnecessary war is over. We have already provided financial, military and humanitarian assistance. This will continue and it will increase," she told a joint briefing with Ruslan Stefanchuk, Chairman of Ukraine's Verkhovna Rada, or parliament.

Stefanchuk said they had discussed continuing international sanctions on Russia, humanitarian and military aid for Ukraine and procedures for EU accession.

EU countries are among those that have imposed sanctions on Russia over its invasion.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special military operation".