EU’s top brass prepares for summit with Zelenskyy in Kyiv | Russia-Ukraine war News
Ukrainian and EU officials will hold talks in Kiev on Friday about the war-torn country’s bid to join the bloc.
Senior European Union officials have arrived in Kyiv ahead of talks with the Ukrainian government over the struggling country’s bid to join the bloc.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell were among those in the capital on Thursday, a day before the scheduled EU-Ukraine summit. take place.
This is the first meeting of its kind to take place in Kiev since Russia launched its invasion on February 24 last year.
EU nations have offered Kyiv political, economic and military support throughout the war and von der Leyen told reporters they were planning to impose new, 10th round sanctions on Russia on the one-year anniversary of the war.
During a press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, von der Leyen said the current sanctions were “eroding” the Russian economy and “repelling it by an entire generation”.
But despite the displays of solidarity, Ukraine’s greatest wish to join the bloc is unlikely to be fulfilled anytime soon.
After a recent Ukraine suppress On high-profile corruption, EU leaders are set to quash Kyiv’s hopes of speedy membership by stressing the need for more anti-corruption measures.
Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler, reporting from Kyiv, said Ukraine “wants to be part of the European Union and look to the West”.
“It says this is part of what it is fighting for [against Russia] give,” Butler said.
“However, the EU is likely to send the message that there is still a lot of work to be done for Ukraine to meet the criteria for full EU membership.”
The EU has listed many requirements for Ukraine to join the bloc, from political and economic stability to passing some of the bloc’s laws.
Kyiv was granted membership candidate status at a record pace last June, but full promotion could take years, if not longer.
The last country to join the EU was Croatia in 2013, a decade after officially applying. Poland, Ukraine’s neighbor, waited 20 years before becoming a member in 2004.
‘Europe unites with Ukraine from day one’
EU officials told Reuters news agency that meetings this week will cover providing more arms and money to Ukraine as well as greater access to Ukrainian products to the EU market and help Kiev cover its energy needs.
Sanctions against Russia, prosecution of the Russian leader for the war and the expansion of a mobile calling zone that bans EU roaming to Ukraine will also be discussed, officials said.
The EU has earmarked nearly 60 billion euros ($65 billion) in aid to Ukraine, including nearly 12 billion euros ($13.2 billion) in military assistance and 18 billion euros ($19.8 billion) to help run the land water this year.
Bolstering Kiev’s response to the Russian attack, the EU’s Borrell on Thursday announced it would double the number of Ukrainian troops trained by the bloc to 30,000 this year. He also promised to spend 25 million euros ($27.5 million) on mining areas recaptured by Ukraine.
“Europe has been united with Ukraine from day one. And will remain with you to win and rebuild,” Borrell wrote on Twitter.
Top EU officials on migration, agriculture, economy and justice are also present in the Ukrainian capital.