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European Union makes Ukraine a candidate for EU membership


John Thys, Associated Press

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, speaks with French President Emmanuel Macron, center, and European Council President Charles Michel prior to a group photo with Western Balkan leaders at an EU summit in Brussels, Thursday, June 23, 2022. European Union leaders are expected to approve Thursday a proposal to grant Ukraine a EU candidate status, a first step on the long toward membership. The stalled enlargement process to include Western Balkans countries in the bloc is also on their agenda at the summit in Brussels.

BRUSSELS - The European Union agreed Thursday to put Ukraine on a path toward EU membership, acting with uncharacteristic speed and unity to pull the embattled country further away from Russia's influence and bind it more closely to the West.

Meeting at a summit in Brussels, leaders of the EU's 27 nations mustered the required unanimous approval to grant Ukraine candidate status. That sets in motion a membership process that could take years or even decades.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy tweeted his gratitude and declared: "Ukraine's future is within the EU."


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