The European Commission will announce next week Ukraine’s candidacy for membership in the European Union is considered viableThe head of the Executive Bloc said, Saturday, during a surprise visit to Kyiv, amid a Russian military offensive in the east.
“The talks we had today will allow us to make our assessment by the end of next week,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The Ukrainian government is pressing for a concrete “legal obligation” from the European Union to examine his candidacy, as a way to reduce the geopolitical vulnerability of the country, which Russia invaded on February 24.
There is an expectation that Ukraine’s candidacy will get the green light At the next summit of the bloc, on June 23-24.
Several senior officials and leaders of the 27 warned that even if Ukraine attains candidate country status, the admission process could take years or even decades.
Von der Leyen highlighted that the former Soviet republic had made “progress in strengthening the rule of law, but anti-corruption reforms, for example, still need to be implemented”.
Zelensky responded that the fate of the European Union is largely at stake in Ukraine.
He declared that “Russia wants to destroy European unity, it wants to divide and weaken Europe. All of Europe is a target for Russia. Ukraine is only the first step in this aggression.”
Von der Leyen’s visit – the second since the start of the war – coincides with the intensification of fighting in the Donbass region (east), which has been partly controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014.
“Destroy every city in the Donbass”
On Saturday, Zelensky’s office cited night bombings by “occupiers” in the Kharkiv region as well as in Lugansk and Donetsk, which make up the Donbass.
An AFP photographer reported artillery duels during the day around Severodonetsk.
Taking this city will open the way from Moscow to another major city, Kramatorsk, an important step towards conquering the entire basin.
The “enemy” is trying to “intensify the concentration of its forces”, but the Ukrainian forces are “successfully” resisting at Severodonetsk, near Metyolkin, where the occupiers “withdrew”, and “near Popasna”, as indicated by the Ukrainian General Staff.
“Russia wants to destroy every city in the Donbass, every single one of them, without exaggeration,” Zelensky declared on Friday.
In Lysychansk, residents face a dilemma: stay and endure the bombing or flee and abandon their homes.
A separatist leader from Lugansk, Leonid Bashnik, admitted that “Severodonetsk was not 100% liberated.” “At the moment, we cannot control the industrial zone,” Pasnik told AFP during a visit to a Russian military hospital under construction in the area.
“But we will achieve our goal, and we will liberate the industrial zone, Severodonetsk … and Lesichansk will be ours,” he added.
“Russia still has enough potential to wage a long war against our country,” said the Military Intelligence Department of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.
The United States and the European Union provided strong support to the country under attack, providing the country with weapons and supporting its economy, as well as imposing severe sanctions on Russia.
But Ukraine is pressing for long-range weapons and a ban on imports of Russian fuel, on which many European countries now depend.
The consequences of the conflict affect the world, especially the food market because of the important role of Ukraine and Russia as wheat exporters.
Ukrainian sea ports are effectively closed, preventing the export of millions of tons of wheat.
Before the Russian invasion, Ukraine was the world’s largest producer of sunflower oil and a major exporter of wheat, but millions of tons of grain are now banned.
In a video shown at Shangri-La Dialogue, a security forum held in Singapore, Zelensky warned that if Ukraine did not resume exports, “the world would face a serious food crisis, including famine,” in many countries in Asia. Africa.
The United Nations and many countries are trying to open a sea lane to allow exports.
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