Ukraine: European leaders visit Kyiv
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Although it is just the start of a process which may take years to achieve, the move is highly symbolic. It is likely that Ukraine will have to conduct extensive reforms in a number of areas such as judicial policy, financial services and food safety.
Kyiv applied formally for EU membership just days after the start of the Russian invasion in February.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference that Ukrainians were “ready to die for the European perspective”.
She said: “Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective.
“We want them to live with us the European dream.”
Writing on Twitter Ukrainian President Voldymyr Zelensky hailed the move arguing that it typified a “new history of freedom”.
He said: “Precisely because of the bravery of the Ukrainians, Europe can create a new history of freedom, and finally remove the grey zone in Eastern Europe between the EU and Russia.”
Leaders of EU countries are expected to endorse the membership applications at a summit next week according to Reuters.
In a speech in St Petersburg, Russian President Vladimir Putin blasted the United States for considering itself “God’s emissary on Earth”.
Putin went on to argue that Western intransigence had given Russia no choice but to start it’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.
The Russian President questioned whether it would be “advisable” for the EU to admit Ukraine as a member.
Putin argued that Kyiv would need extensive economic subsidies that other EU member states may not be willing to give.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also reiterated that it was important for the West not to “suggest peace initiatives with unacceptable terms” in an online article.
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He said: “The West cannot afford any sanctions fatigue, regardless of the broader economic costs.
“Right now, it is clear that Putin’s path to the negotiating table lies solely through battleground defeats.”
Mr Kuleba’s comments appear to be a response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments earlier this month that any diplomatic solution should not humiliate Russia.
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