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EU launches membership negotiations with Ukraine

EU launches membership negotiations with Ukraine Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel pose for a picture during a European Union (EU) summit, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, Kyiv, Feb. 3, 2023 (Reuters Photo)
By Associated Press
Jun 25, 2024 6:39 PM

The European Union launched membership talks with Ukraine on Tuesday, a decade after Russian troops seized the Crimean Peninsula to deter the country from moving closer to the West, part of a chain of events that set the two neighbors on the path to war.

Ukraine’s accession negotiations were set in motion at an intergovernmental conference in Luxembourg. Moldova is also due to launch its membership talks later Tuesday. While the events are a major milestone on their European paths, the talks could take years to conclude.

In opening remarks presented via video link, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal described it as “a historic day” that marks “a new chapter” in his country’s ties with the bloc, particularly as the war with Russia rages on.

“We fully understand that there is still much work ahead of us on the path to accession. We are ready for it. We have demonstrated that we can move swiftly and achieve the impossible,” Shmyhal said.

Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib, whose country currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, described it as “a historic moment for us all, and marks a milestone in our relationship.”

Lahbib said the EU condemns “Russia’s unjustified and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine and salutes the resilience of the Ukrainian people,” adding that the bloc will continue to support Ukraine in the war “for as long as it takes and as intensely as needed.”

Ukraine’s delegation was led in Luxembourg by deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration Olga Stefanishyna.

“This is a truly historical moment for my country. All the nation stands as one behind this decision,” she told reporters as she arrived for the ceremony.

Last Updated:  Jun 25, 2024 6:39 PM