leaders have agreed to make a candidate for EU membership after giving its bid a speedy review.
Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the move as a “unique and historic moment” in relations with the 27-nation bloc.
“Ukraine’s future is in the EU,” he tweeted on Thursday evening.
The bold geopolitical move has been triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Although it could take Ukraine more than a decade to qualify for membership, the decision at a two-day EU summit is symbolic step that signals the bloc’s intention to reach deep into the former Soviet Union.
“A historic moment,” European Council chief Charles Michel tweeted. “Today marks a crucial step on your path towards the EU,” he said, adding: “Our future is together.”
The move, which also sees Moldova being granted candidate status, kick-starts the EU’s most ambitious expansion since it welcomed Eastern European states after the Cold War.
“All the people in Ukraine are watching and waiting for this decision,” said Ivan Zichenko, a 34-year-old Ukrainian from the devastated city of Kharkiv, who now lives in Brussels.
“It’s very, very important to raise their morale,” he said as a few dozen people chanted “Ukraine is Europe” at a rally outside the Brussels building where EU leaders were meeting.
This is a breaking story.