The leaders of European Union countries agreed to grant Ukraine and Moldova candidate status to join the bloc. The decision was taken this Thursday (23) at a meeting in Brussels.
The process of integration into the bloc of countries, however, can take years.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in photo with Emmanuel Macron, Olaf Scholz, Mario Draghi and Klaus Iohannis — Photo: Ludovic Marin/REUTERS
It took a consensus for the 27 countries of the European Union to approve Ukraine’s candidacy, already supported by the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, and by the main economies of the bloc, although some members were reluctant.
Commission President Ursula von der Leyen urged European leaders to agree to the Ukrainian government’s request.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that on Wednesday he held “a telephonic marathon” during which he spoke with 11 European leaders to defend the candidacy.
This scenario of welcoming Ukraine, unimaginable until recently, was imposed on the community bloc with the war started by Russia four months ago.
Ursula von der Leyen wrote on social media that the decision “strengthens Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia against Russian imperialism”.
According to the New York Times, the European Union’s decision to legitimize the Ukrainian candidacy is likely to anger Russia, which has already described Ukraine’s aspirations to align itself with Western institutions as a provocation and interference with Russia’s sphere of influence. .
Leaders of countries in the Western Balkans region that have been negotiating membership for several years have not hidden their displeasure.
Building in Bucharest, Romania, features European Union flag outside — Photo: Bogdan Cristel/REUTERS
Prime Minister of Albania (a candidate for accession that has been waiting for news since 2014), Edi Rama, said that Ukraine should have “no illusions” about the success of its candidacy.
“North Macedonia has been a candidate for 17 years, if I haven’t lost count. Albania for 8. So welcome Ukraine. It’s good that Ukraine has recognized its status (as a candidate country). But I hope the Ukrainians have no illusions,” he said.
On the war front, Ukrainian troops lost control of two locations in the Donbass region, in the east of the country, amid fighting to maintain their sovereignty in the cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, informed the governor of Luhansk.
“We have lost control of Loskutivka and Rai-Oleksandrivka,” said Sergei Gaiday, referring to two locations south-east of Lysychansk.
With this, Russian troops were able to advance further into Donbass, where they appear to be close to encircling the two urban centers of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk, separated by the Donets River.
Gaiday said Russian forces were trying to take control of Severodonetsk, an industrial city that before the war had nearly 100,000 inhabitants and that the Ukrainian military is trying to defend.
A Ukrainian soldier fires a grenade launcher amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in Bakhmut, in the Donbass region (Photo: Gleb Garanich/REUTERS)
Ukraine receives Western military aid and has now added US Himars missile launch systems to its arsenal, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov announced, without specifying how many rocket launchers have arrived.
With a range of 80 km, this system has the advantage of being very accurate, superior to that of the Russians. However, a representative of the pro-Russian separatists called Ukrainian resistance in Lysychansk and Severodonetsk “useless”.
“I think that at the rate our soldiers are going, very soon the entire territory of the Lugansk People’s Republic will be liberated,” said Lieutenant Colonel Andrei Marochko.
The attacks are taking place in other parts of the country, such as in the northeastern region of Kharkiv, where fifteen people died on Tuesday, and in the southern city of Mikolaiv, where Russia announced on Thursday that it had destroyed 49 fuel tanks and three armored vehicles.
Putin asks BRICS for cooperation
BRICS meeting — Photo: Reproduction
Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) for greater cooperation in dealing with the “selfish actions” of Western countries.
Putin denounced these countries’ attempts to “use financial mechanisms to hold everyone accountable for their own macroeconomic policy mistakes.” According to Putin, the BRICS could count on the support of “several countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America that aspire to an independent policy.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged African countries to “stay together with Ukraine” and “not to buy Ukrainian grain stolen” by Russian forces.
This Thursday’s European summit in Brussels will be followed by another of the G7, with the great Western powers, and a third of NATO, in which the US President, Joe Biden, will participate.
These three meetings will discuss how to help Ukraine financially. According to the White House, Volodymyr Zelensky will intervene in the G7 and NATO meetings, via videoconference.