Volodymyr Zelenskyy reacts to Ukraine’s EU candidate status | USA TODAY


Volodymyr Zelenskyy finds hope in the possibility of Ukraine joining the European Union. Its candidate status, however, does not guarantee membership.

RELATED: Ben Stiller meets Ukrainian President Zelenskyy

The European Union leadership approved Ukraine’s candidacy for membership Thursday, starting the embattled nation on a yearslong path toward cementing a closer relationship with the West as it attempts to distance itself from its Russian invaders.

“Historic agreement, historic decision,” European Council President Charles Michel tweeted after the decision was announced on the first day of an EU leaders summit in Belgium.

Ukraine has already implemented about 70% of EU rules, norms and standards, European officials have said. But they warned that the country still needs political and economic reforms, pointing to corruption. EU candidate status doesn’t guarantee Ukraine membership and does not provide the military security provided by NATO membership. Still, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was elated.



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