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The Russian military offensive is expected to intensify ahead of a vote on whether Ukraine should grant EU candidate status at this week’s European Commission meeting.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video on the 19th (local time) that “we expect a strong Russian offensive this week” and “we are prepared to respond”.
President Zelensky’s predictions come ahead of the two-day EU summit to be held on the 23rd, ahead of the vote on whether Ukraine will gain EU candidate status.
Earlier, Ukraine submitted an application for EU membership in February, right after the start of the war. If the EU summit unanimously agrees to accept the application, Ukraine and the EU will enter into full-scale negotiations for formal accession.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen recommended granting membership to member states on the premise that Ukraine implements several reforms.
Some member states are also expected to support their application for membership at the meeting, Reuters said.
French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Romanian President Klaus Johannis “support Ukraine’s policy of granting EU candidate status” after holding a summit in Ukraine with President Zelensky on the 16th. has stated its position.
Nevertheless, Ukraine’s accession to the EU is not going to be a smooth process. Even if Ukraine unanimously supports the membership application at this meeting, the negotiation conditions and procedures for substantive accession between the two sides are complicated.
In order to check whether the EU member state standards are met, the EU and member states are negotiating and verifying about 30 fields. In fact, in the case of Poland, it took 10 years from application for membership to becoming a member state.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a speech at the International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in St. However, as Ukraine’s accession to the EU runs counter to the goals expressed by Putin at the start of the war, the conflict between the two sides is expected to continue in the future.
|European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen holds a press conference after meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a visit to Ukraine’s capital Kii on the 11th. © AFP=News1 © News1 Reporter Dongmyeong Woo|
Contrary to President Zelensky’s expectations, the fighting between the two countries continued over the weekend in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on the 18th that the offensive in the direction of Severodonetsk was successfully launched.
“Russian forces continue to attack military targets on Ukrainian territory,” it said.
The Ukrainian side partially agreed with the Russian military’s claims, but admitted that the damage was growing.
Luhansk Governor Serhi Haidai said on Telegram that “the claim that the Russians are in control of Severodonetsk is false.
Governor Haidai explained that the Russian army is constantly replenishing its reserves by sending new troops into Severodonetsk and surrounding areas, and that they are advancing little by little using the so-called ‘crawl tactic’.
He also said that civilians are being evacuated from Russian shelling in Lisichansk across the Severodonetsk River. However, as the last bridge connecting the two cities recently collapsed, evacuation has been impossible in Severodonetsk for several days.
Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned that the Ukraine war could last for years and urged people to prepare for a long-term war, Reuters reported.
In an interview with the German daily Bild, Stoltenberg said: “We must be prepared for the fact that the end of the war may take several years.” Support should not be loosened,” he said.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who made a surprise visit to Kiiu on the 17th, also mentioned the need for long-term warfare on the 17th.
“Time is an important factor,” he told The Sunday Times. “It all depends on Ukraine strengthening its territorial defenses faster than Russia regaining offensive capabilities.”