Within days, Ukraine could become an EU candidate

Today, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky officially handed over to the EU representative the completed questionnaire for the start of the process of Ukraine’s accession to the union and expressed hope that in a few weeks it will gain the status of a candidate member, Reuters reports.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented Zelensky with a questionnaire during a visit to Kyiv on April 8th, promising Ukraine to join the union under an accelerated procedure. A video released by the Ukrainian presidency shows Zelensky handing over the document to the EU envoy.

“We strongly believe that this procedure [granting candidate status] will take place in the coming weeks and that it will be positive in the history of our people given the price it pays on the path to independence and democracy,” he said. the ceremony. Earlier today, Zelensky’s office said it expected Ukraine to receive EU candidate status at the union’s June summit. As a candidate for membership, the country must start negotiations to bring its legislation in line with the EU legal framework.

Mariupol has not yet been conquered

The port city of Mariupol in eastern Ukraine is still contested, with Russians appearing to have sent reinforcements to Ukraine in recent days, a senior US defense official was quoted as saying by Reuters today.

“In our opinion, Mariupol is still disputed. It remains under threat from the air – both from missile strikes and bombing, as well as from artillery,” the source told reporters, wishing to remain anonymous. He added that there are currently approximately 76 Russian battalion tactical groups in southern and eastern Ukraine – 11 more than in recent days.

Ukraine today called on Russia to help create a corridor for those wishing to evacuate from the besieged city of Mariupol, as well as the steel plant, which remains the last area of ​​significant Ukrainian resistance in the city. “We insist on the establishment of an emergency humanitarian corridor on the territory of the Azovstal plant for women, children, and other civilians,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk wrote in a statement to the Telegram.

Kyiv has denied that Zelensky refused to meet with the German president

An adviser to the head of Volodymyr Zelensky’s office has denied allegations that the Ukrainian president has rejected a proposal to visit his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Reuters reported.

Yesterday, Steinmeier said he intended to visit Kyiv with the presidents of Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia to send “a strong signal of European solidarity with Ukraine”. “But Kyiv did not want that to happen,” he added.

The German newspaper Bild reported that Zelensky had rejected plans to visit Steinmeier because of his close ties to Russia in recent years and his support for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline – a project that was later canceled to double Russian gas supplies directly. in Germany.

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