European leaders granted Ukraine candidate status on Thursday, in a landmark decision that opens the door to EU membership for the war-torn country and deals a blow to Vladimir Putin.
EU leaders meeting in Brussels have approved Ukraine’s candidate status nearly four months after the country’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy launched his country’s bid to join the bloc at the start of the invasion Russian. Moldova also obtained candidate status.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it was “a good day for Europe”. French President Emmanuel Macron said it was a historic decision that sent “a strong signal to Russia in the current geopolitical context”.
The transition from candidate to candidate usually takes years, but the EU has dramatically accelerated the process, amid outrage over the brutality of the unprovoked Russian attack, and to show solidarity with defenders of the ‘Ukraine.
“Ukraine is going through hell for one simple reason: its desire to join the EU,” von der Leyen tweeted on the eve of the summit. Last week, the committee called on EU leaders to grant candidate status to Ukraine.
Previously, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said candidate status would “draw a line under decades of ambiguity and etch it: Ukraine is Europe, it is not part of the ‘Russian world’ ‘”.
Ukraine’s ambassador to the EU, Vsevolod Chentsov, said earlier this week that the EU had moved at “lightning speed” in its standards.
Hello, it’s Samantha Lock back with you as we continue to bring you all the latest news from Ukraine.
Here are all the major developments as of 8am in Kyiv.
- The European Union has approved Ukraine’s request to become a candidate country for admission in the block of 27 in a stage that Kyiv and Brussels hailed as a “historic moment”. EU leaders meeting in Brussels followed the European Commission’s recommendation, which was made on June 17.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy immediately welcomed the decision., saying: “The future of Ukraine is in the EU.” “It’s a victory…we’ve been waiting for 120 days and 30 years,” he added, referring to the length of the war and the decades since Ukraine became independent after the outbreak of the war. Soviet Union. “And now we will defeat the enemy.”
- US to send additional $450 million in military aid to Ukraineincluding some additional medium range rocket systems. The latest package includes four High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and tens of thousands of artillery rounds as well as patrol boats, Pentagon officials said Thursday. With the latest deliveries, the U.S. contribution to Ukraine’s military so far will amount to $6.1 billion, White House spokesman John Kirby said. added.
- Russian forces captured two villages in eastern Ukraine and are fighting for control of a key highway in a campaign to cut supply lines and surround Ukrainian frontline forces, according to British and Ukrainian military officials.
- The battle for two key cities in eastern Ukraine is heading for ‘a fearsome climax’, said Oleksiy Arestovych, adviser to the Ukrainian president. Russia is now believed to control all of Sievierodonetsk except for the Azot chemical plant.
- No town safe for residents of eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region as fighting escalates, say local officials. “There is no place, no town in the Donetsk region where it would be safe,” Pavlo Kyrylenko told Agence France-Presse, citing the latest intelligence data. “It is extremely dangerous for residents to stay anywhere in the area.”
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said Britain is ready to help with mine clearance operations off Ukraine’s southern coast. When asked if Britain was prepared to help Ukraine clear the area, Johnson replied: “Yes, I don’t want to go into technical or military details, but you can base yourself on what we have already done to provide equipment to the Ukrainians need to help themselves protect that we are certainly talking to them on a technical level to help demine Odessa.
- The UK is also offering its expertise to help escort Ukraine’s grain from its portssaid British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. Boris Johnson added that Britain was considering offering insurance to ships carrying millions of tonnes of grain stranded in the country, telling Reuters: ‘What the UK may have to offer, above all , it’s expertise in marine insurance, and a lot of expertise in moving goods across, shall we say, disputed sea areas.
- More than 150 cultural sites in Ukraine have been partially or totally destroyed, according to a UNESCO report. The damage includes 70 religious buildings, 30 historic buildings, 18 cultural centers, 15 monuments, 12 museums and seven libraries.
- Ukraine records 200-300 war crimes per day committed by Russian forces on its territory, the attorney general said. “War crimes are our problem. Every day we have 200 to 300… We have a duty: when there is a crime, we must open an investigation,” Iryna Venediktova told Ukrainian television.
- Ukraine holds a preliminary hearing in its first trial of a Russian soldier accused of raping a Ukrainian woman during the invasion of Moscow – the first of what could be dozens of such cases. The suspect, Mikhail Romanov, 32, who will be tried in absentia, is accused of breaking into a house in a village in the Brovarsky region outside Kyiv in March, killing a man then of repeatedly raping his wife while threatening her and her child.
- The US Embassy in Russia this week pressured the Kremlin to reveal the whereabouts of two Alabama men captured in Ukraine, according to the mother of one of the Americans caught. Lois “Bunny” Drueke also said her son, Alexander Drueke, and the other captured US military veteran, Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, were not mercenaries but volunteers, rebuffing claims by a Kremlin spokesperson who said the American couple were at risk of execution.