Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy hailed the European Union’s expected offer of candidate status for his war-weary country on Wednesday, as Russian forces pounded Ukraine’s second largest city Kharkiv and the eastern Donbas region.
At a summit in Brussels on Thursday, European leaders will formally start Ukraine on the long road to EU membership. Though primarily symbolic, the move will help boost national morale at a critical juncture in a four-month conflict that has killed thousands, displaced millions, and levelled towns and cities.
The war has also had a significant impact on the global economy and European security arrangements, raising gas, oil, and food prices, forcing the EU to reduce its reliance on Russian energy, and prompting Finland and Sweden to seek NATO membership.
‘I am confident that all 27 European Union countries will support our candidacy,’ Zelenskiy told Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy students in Toronto via videolink.
‘It’s like coming from the dark into the light.’
But, for the time being, Zelenskiy has more pressing priorities than attempting to meet EU standards on combating corruption or reforming public administration, as his forces are running low on ammunition in the Donbas.