European leaders vow continued support for Ukraine

Several European leaders have spoken in Kyiv with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

In the face of an intensifying Russian offensive in the east, they conveyed a clear message that the European Union stands together in helping Ukraine.

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis met with Zelenskyy on Thursday.

Iohannis said, "The premeditated, unjustified, and unprovoked illegal Russian aggression must stop."

The leaders said they had discussed possible further sanctions against Russia, reconstruction of Ukraine after the war, grain export blockades and Ukraine's bid to join the European Union.

Zelenskyy expressed gratitude for military support to help counter the Russian invasion, but he called for more heavy weaponry to be supplied.

He said Russia's aggression against Ukraine amounted to aggression against all of Europe and its values.

Russian forces continue their attacks in a bid to put all of the Luhansk region under their control.

They are trying to seize Severodonetsk. It's the Ukrainian military's last stronghold in the region.

The military said on Wednesday that Russia's main strike forces were trying to attack the city in nine directions all at the same time. The region's governor says about 10,000 civilians remain there.

EU, G7 and NATO summits are scheduled for the coming weeks. The leaders will discuss Ukraine's bid to join the EU, as well as military and economic support for the country.