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Zelenskiy: "Ukraine's bid to join the EU will make Europe stronger at a time when Russia threatens freedom."

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English -   President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that Ukraine's formal application to join the European Union wa...


Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English -  President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that Ukraine's formal application to join the European Union was a big step toward making Europe stronger at a time when Russia was testing its freedom and unity.

On Friday, it will have been four months since Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops across the border into Ukraine. This started the biggest war in Europe since World War II, with thousands of people killed, millions of people displaced, and cities turned into ruins.

It has also caused an energy and food crisis around the world.

After failing to get a quick victory by taking over Kyiv, Putin's forces are now trying to take over eastern Ukraine. This is part of a war of attrition that has no end in sight and could spread to other parts of Europe.

Zelenskiy told EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday that their decision to accept Kyiv's candidacy was one of the most important things for Ukraine since it broke away from the Soviet Union 31 years ago.

"But this decision isn't being made just for Ukraine's good. It is the most important step Europe could have taken to get stronger right now, when the Russian war is putting our ability to keep freedom and unity to the test "he said.

After the decision was made, the head of the European Council, Charles Michel, wrote on Twitter, "A historic moment." He also wrote, "Our future is together."

Russia will be upset if the EU lets Kyiv join. Russia has been worried about Ukraine's closer ties to the West.

Moscow's "special military operation" began on February 24 to keep its borders safe. Kyiv and the rest of the world say that Putin invaded Ukraine without any reason.

Also, Moldova became an official candidate for the EU. This shows that the bloc wants to reach all the way into the former Soviet Union.

The road to joining the EU will be a big morale booster for Ukraine, but it will be a long one that could take years.

Zelenskiy has said that he will not stop working until Russia has been defeated and full membership is guaranteed.

In a video released by his office, he said, "We can beat the enemy, rebuild Ukraine, join the EU, and then we can rest."

After the Russian invasion, Ukraine and Moldova want to join the EU, and Sweden and Finland want to join NATO. This shows that the Kremlin's military actions have gone against its geopolitical goals.

RUSSIAN ASSAULTS

The fight for Ukraine's industrial heartland in the eastern Donbas region is most important in the twin cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk, which are in the Luhansk province and sit on opposite sides of the Siverskyi Donets River.

Oleksiy Arestovych, one of Zelenskiy's advisors, said on Thursday that the battle there is "coming to a scary end."

In a briefing on Thursday, a top Ukrainian defence official said that Russian forces were trying to surround the Ukrainian troops defending Lysychansk.

Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of Luhansk, said that all of Lysychansk was in range of Russian fire and that Ukrainian troops there might move to avoid getting stuck.

Separatist forces that are backed by Russia said that there were fierce battles going on near Ukrainian positions in Hirske, which is on the western side of the main north-south road to Lysychansk, and Zolote, which is a settlement to the south.

Gaidai said that Ukrainian forces were protecting Sievierodonetsk and the nearby towns of Zolote and Vovchoyrovka, but that Russian troops had taken the southern towns of Loskutivka and Rai-Oleksandrivka. In Sievierodonetsk, hundreds of civilians are stuck in a chemical plant.

On the southern front, Russian forces used high-precision weapons to hit Ukrainian army fuel tanks and military equipment near Mykolaiv, the defence ministry of Russia said, as quoted by the Interfax news agency.

Mykolaiv is a river port and shipbuilding centre near the Black Sea. It has been a stronghold against Russian attempts to push west toward Odesa, which is Ukraine's biggest port city.

Authorities in the small town of Derhachi, which is northwest of Kharkiv, said early Friday that heavy Russian shelling had cut off most of the electricity and natural gas supply.

The second largest city in Ukraine is Kharkiv, which is in the northeast.

Zelenskiy has asked Ukraine's allies to send heavy weapons faster so that Ukraine can compete with Russia on the battlefield.

The Ukrainian defence minister said that HIMARS rocket systems from the US had arrived. With a range of 70 km (44 miles), the systems can take on the Russian artillery batteries that have hit Ukrainian cities from far away.

U.S. officials said on Thursday that the U.S. will give Ukraine an extra $450 million in security aid, which will include more long-range rocket systems.

Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of Britain, said that his country was willing to help with demining operations off the southern coast of Ukraine. He also said that Britain was thinking about offering insurance to ships that would help move millions of tonnes of grain stuck in the country.



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