Europe despatched a robust image of solidarity with Ukraine on Friday as Brussels backed Kyiv’s bid for EU candidate standing, a call Russian President Vladimir Putin stated he had “nothing against”.
With the European Commission’s backing, Ukraine may be a part of the listing of nations vying for membership as early as subsequent week, when member state leaders meet at their Brussels summit.
All 27 leaders should comply with the candidacy, however the heads of the bloc’s largest members — France, Germany and Italy — gave full-throated assist to the concept on Thursday, on a visit to a war-torn Kyiv suburb.
On Friday, the European Commission gave formal backing to the bid, and EU chief Ursula von der Leyen made her place clear by donning a hanging jacket in Ukraine’s nationwide colors.
“We all know that Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective. We want them to live with us for the European dream,” she stated.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky instantly welcomed the choice as a “first step on the EU membership path that’ll certainly bring our victory closer”.
He thanked von der Leyen for the fee’s “historic decision” and stated he anticipated that EU leaders would give Ukraine a “positive result” on the June 23-24 summit.
Putin stated Russia had “nothing against” Ukraine becoming a member of the EU, saying it was “their sovereign decision to join economic unions or not” — in contrast to the safety threat he sees in Kyiv becoming a member of NATO.
But he stated membership of the European Union would flip Ukraine right into a “semi-colony” of the West.
Russia had earlier stated the West was “manipulating” Ukraine with guarantees of integration.
As Brussels celebrated their breakthrough, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned to Kyiv for his second go to since Russia’s February 24 invasion.
“Many days of this war have proved that Great Britain’s support for Ukraine is firm and resolute,” Zelensky wrote on social media.
Johnson’s workplace tweeted an image of the premier assembly the Ukrainian chief, carrying a stack of books and paperwork underneath one arm.
“My visit today, in the depths of this war, is to send a clear and simple message to the Ukrainian people: the UK is with you, and we will be with you until you ultimately prevail,” Johnson stated.
According to Downing Street, Johnson provided to launch a serious coaching operation for Ukrainian forces, to coach as much as 10,000 troopers each 120 days and “change the equation of the war”.
Each Ukrainian soldier would spend three weeks on the British coaching course, studying fight ways, fundamental medical abilities, cybersecurity and counter explosive ways.
Once Ukraine joins the EU candidates’ listing — alongside a number of international locations within the western Balkans — it may nonetheless take years to fulfill all of the formal membership necessities, even when Kyiv prevails within the struggle.
“Ukraine should be welcomed as a candidate country — this is based on the understanding that good work has been done but important work also remains to be done,” von der Leyen stated.
And within the meantime, the combating continues, with Russian forces bombarding pockets of Ukrainian resistance in frontline Severodonetsk, together with civilians holed up in a chemical plant in the jap Ukrainian metropolis.
Moscow turned up the strain on Western allies, sharply decreasing flows of pure gasoline in its pipelines to western Europe, driving up vitality costs.
France’s community supplier stated it had not acquired any Russian gasoline by pipeline from Germany since June 15, and Italy’s Eni stated it anticipated Russian agency Gazprom to chop its provides by half on Friday.
Several European international locations, together with Italy and Germany, are extremely reliant upon Russian gasoline for his or her vitality wants and, as the West sides with Ukraine, Moscow is reducing provides.
Berlin and Rome have rejected Russia’s argument that technical points have brought about the drop in provides, arguing that state-owned Gazprom’s transfer is political.
But western Europe is sweltering in a heatwave and vitality costs are already hovering, including to runaway inflation and industrial motion in a number of economies.
The scenario is, after all, starker in Ukraine itself, the place Russian troops have occupied a swathe of the south and east of the nation through the 113-day struggle, together with a lot of the Donbas area.
“The humanitarian situation across Ukraine — particularly in the eastern Donbas — is extremely alarming and continues to deteriorate rapidly,” the UN humanitarian company, OCHA, stated.
The assertion stated the scenario is “particularly worrying in and around Severodonetsk” — the place bloody battles have raged for weeks.
Severodonetsk is within the Lugansk area, the place governor Serhiy Haidai referred to as for a ceasefire, stating a whole bunch of civilians had been trapped within the besieged Azot chemical plant within the metropolis.
“It is now impossible and physically dangerous to get out of the plant due to constant shelling and fighting. There are 568 people in the shelter, including 38 children,” he stated.
Haidai stated earlier this week that round 10,000 civilians remained within the metropolis, which is managed largely by Russian forces.
In the frontline Donbas village of Adamivka close to town of Sloviansk, a group of Orthodox nuns have seen a rocket gap blasted into the wall of their well-tended backyard.
Under near-constant bombardment by Russian forces, Sister Anastasi and a gaggle of different black-clad nuns and pilgrims stay day-to-day, praying for deliverance.
“We are all alive, yes. No one has left. This is our home,” she stated quietly, her face framed by a black veil, as shells crashed within the distance.
“We trust in God’s will, in God’s help, in the help of all the saints and the Holy Virgin. This is our home, we have nowhere else to go.”
At least two folks had been killed and 20 injured in a Russian strike on a residential space within the southern Ukrainian metropolis of Mykolaiv, the native governor stated.
Separately, Zelensky introduced an finish to the visa-free journey that Russian residents, lots of whom have Ukrainian relations, have loved since Ukraine grew to become impartial from the Soviet Union in 1991.