President Nicos Anastasiades said on Thursday he had a “productive” discussion with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy on the sidelines of the European Council in Brussels.

“Productive exchange of views with President Zelenskiy who has participated in the first segment of today’s Special Euco,” Anastasiades posted on his Twitter feed.

During his participation in a European Council summit – for the first time ever – Zelenskiy thanked EU leaders for their ongoing support in countering Russia’s invasion.

The Ukrainian leader met successively with the 27 European heads of state. The meetings were divided into four groups. Anastasiades had been included in the third group – along with the leaders of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Greece.

As it turned out, the president did not take part in that scheduled slot, as he had already spoken with Zelenskiy in the morning.

The other groups meeting with Zelenskiy were as follows: Spain, Italy, Poland, Romania, the Netherlands, Sweden; Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Slovakia; and Portugal, Malta, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Lithuania.

Speaking to reporters after meeting with EU leaders, Zelenskiy said the EU was ready to provide Kyiv with aircraft to help it fight for Ukraine’s “independence” and “freedom.”

“Europe will be with us until our victory. I’ve heard it from a number of European leaders … about the readiness to give us the necessary weapons and support, including the aircraft,” he said.

“I have a number of bilaterals now, we are going to raise the issue of the fighter jets and other aircraft,” he added.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen announced new European sanctions against Russia that will include new export bans worth more than €10 billion and will take on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s propagandists.

“We will target Putin’s propagandists because their lies are poisoning the public space in Russia and abroad,” von der Leyen said during the joint press conference with Zelenskiy and European Council President Charles Michel.

The second segment of the European Council got underway at around 4.30pm local time (5.30pm Cyprus time). Items on the agenda were the external dimension of migration, and the economic competitiveness of the EU bloc.