EU leaders back immediate candidate status for Kyiv
France, Germany, Italy and Romania have backed Ukraine’s bid to join the EU, and support giving the country immediate candidate status. Ukraine would still be required to meet the accession criteria in full. French President Emmanuel Macron stressed that the EU would stand by Ukraine until its victory against Russia.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky continues to refer to Russia’s invasion as a war against a united Europe and appealed for more heavy weapons to be sent to Ukraine. Ukraine hopes to defend itself against Russia and liberate territories taken over by Moscow since the beginning of the war. The four EU leaders visited the town of Irpin, near Kyiv, earlier on Thursday. The city had previously been occupied by Russia. Russia is currently seeking to take control of the Luhansk region, focusing on capturing Severdonetsk. The leaders visited Ukraine for the first time since the war began. The European Commission is expected to make a recommendation on whether to give Ukraine an EU candidate status on Friday.