EU leaders arrive in Kyiv to reassure Zelenskiy on membership bid

The European Commission chief and the EU’s prime diplomat arrived in Kyiv on Friday to supply Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy help and reassurance over his bid for EU membership in a capital step by step reviving after Russia pulled again forces.

Travelling by practice from Brussels to Kyiv, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen instructed reporters crucial message she was bringing to Zelenskiy was that there “will be the EU path” for Ukraine.

“Usually it takes years before the EU council accepts application for membership but Ukraine did that in a week or two and I ask to move forward as soon as possible,” she mentioned. “Our goal is present Ukraine application to council this summer.”

Six weeks into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, she pledged her help for Kyiv to “emerge from the war as a democratic country”, one thing, she mentioned, the European Union and different donors would assist with.

It was a message echoed by Josep Borrell, the EU’s chief diplomat, who additionally instructed reporters the go to was a sign that “Ukraine is in control of its territory” and the federal government was nonetheless in cost.

“Ukraine is not a country invaded, dominated. There is still a government (which) receives people from outside and you can travel to Kyiv,” Mr Borrell mentioned, including he hoped the EU would provide one other €500 million to Kyiv within the coming days.

He additionally mentioned the journey would permit the bloc to stipulate the measures the EU has taken to “isolate Russia” over its invasion of Ukraine, a warfare Moscow describes as a “special operation” to “denazify” its neighbour.

Mr Zelenskiy rejects Moscow’s assertion, and says the warfare raging in components of his nation for the final six weeks is a direct assault on not solely Ukraine’s existence, but in addition on the safety of Europe as a complete.

As the EU leaders had been poised to reach, greater than 30 folks had been killed and greater than 100 wounded in a Russian rocket strike on a railway station in east Ukraine as civilians tried to evacuate to safer areas, the state railway firm mentioned.

Moscow’s incursion has seen greater than 4 million folks flee overseas, killed or wounded hundreds and decreased cities to rubble although Russian forces have did not take any main cities.

Mr Zelenskiy has urged Brussels to do extra to punish Russia, together with banning purchases of oil and fuel from the nation, and has known as on the EU to simply accept Ukraine as a full member.

Mr Borrell mentioned oil sanctions had been “a big elephant in the room”, with some issues {that a} transfer to chop out Russian crude might trigger a spike in costs painful to European economies. He mentioned a choice on exports could be raised on Monday in Brussels.

Mr Borrell and Ms von der Leyen are the most recent Western leaders to go to Kyiv after the prime ministers of Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic travelled to fulfill Zelenskiy final month. – Reuters

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