Ukraine belongs to the EU, says Commission chief von der Leyen – POLITICO

Ukraine belongs to the European Union and the bloc wants the country to join, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Sunday – a rebuke of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s own claims on the European country from the east.

“We have a process with Ukraine which is, for example, integrating the Ukrainian market into the single market,” von der Leyen told Euronews in an interview after announcing plans for the Union to provide some 500 million arms and other aid to the Ukrainian army as it fights the Russian invasion.

“We have very close cooperation on the energy network, for example. So many subjects where we work very closely together and indeed over time, they belong to us. They are with us and we want them to participate,” said the President of the Commission.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Twitter late Sunday evening, he spoke to von der Leyen on the phone about “concrete decisions on strengthening Ukraine’s defense capabilities, macro-financial assistance and Ukraine’s #EU membership”.

Von der Leyen’s remarks are likely to spark anger in Moscow, where Putin has used what he claims is a historic unity between the Russian and Ukrainian peoples to justify his unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, as well as complaints about Kiev’s growing ties with the West.

Yet the decision to add new countries to the EU rests with the established member countries, which do not always agree with the Commission’s views and have stalled accession negotiations due to bilateral disputes with the candidates. . Ukraine is still not an official candidate for EU accession negotiations.

Meanwhile, Russian and Ukrainian peace negotiators have agreed to meet near the Belarusian border for talks as the fighting enters its fifth day.

Von der Leyen said of the peace talks: “Of course it is important that the Ukrainian side accepts the peace talks and that the conditions are good for the Ukrainian side. In general, it is always better to have peace talks than to fight. But trust in President Putin is completely shattered and eroded.

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