Ursula von der Leyen announced today that the EU is moving forward with moves for Ukraine to join the bloc in a slap in the face of Vladimir Putin’s military invasion. In remarks intended to irritate President Putin, the President of the European Commission declared that Ukraine “belongs to us”. President Putin has repeatedly used claims that Ukraine and Russia belong to “one people” to justify his war.
Speaking to euronews, Ms von der Leyen said: “There is strong solidarity with Ukraine.
“They share our values, they defend our principles. They want to have a peaceful democracy and Russia is attacking that.
“We have a process with Ukraine which consists, for example, of integrating the Ukrainian market into the single market.
“We have very close cooperation on the energy grid, for example.
“So many topics that we work on very closely together and indeed over time, they belong to us. They are ours and we want them.”
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This follows calls from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who pushed for urgent European Union membership following the invasion.
On Saturday, President Zelenskyy repeated it, saying: “I say it as frankly as possible, the people of Ukraine deserve and have the right to be a member of the European Union.
“This will be the main show of support for our country.”
He confirmed that he had spoken to European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen about immediate EU membership.
Earlier in the day, Brussels announced it was sending weapons to Ukraine, banning Russian-backed media from the EU and banning Russian planes from the bloc.
In a “decisive moment”, the EU says it will buy and deliver weapons to Ukraine – the first time the bloc has funded military support to a country under attack.
Boris Johnson, who met Ukrainian community leaders in London today, said anyone who is a Ukrainian living in the UK will be able to bring in immediate family members from Ukraine.
He announced that the UK would send an additional £40 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine, hailing the “impressive displays of bravery and heroism of the Ukrainian people”.
He also pledged to continue supplying arms to the Ukrainian military as it battles invading Russian forces.
Meanwhile, Russia appears to have stepped up its presence in the country after new satellite images revealed a large Russian troop convoy heading towards Kiev.
A huge convoy of troops and equipment, stretching over three miles, was spotted just 40 miles from the Ukrainian capital.
It seems to include fuel supplies, logistics and armored vehicles.