UKRAINIAN President Volodymyr Zelensky is applying to join the European Union (EU) through an unconventional route and expects his country to be immediately admitted, as delegates from Russia and Ukraine hold peace talks on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, near the Pripyat River, on Monday.
Arguing his country has “earned this right,” Zelenskyy is asking the EU to “immediately admit Ukraine as a member under a new special procedure.” Fast-track access is unprecedented, but European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen did say “Ukraine is one of us”.
Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal tweeted on Monday: “Ukrainians have long proved that we are an integral part of the European community.
“The time to put it down on paper has come. Ukraine is applying for EU membership under a special procedure. We are grateful to our partners for their support and quick decisions”.
The process of joining the EU broadly consists of three stages and membership negotiations cannot start until all EU governments agree, in the form of a unanimous decision by the EU Council, on a framework or mandate for negotiations with the candidate country.
In an interview on Sunday after the 27-nation EU decided for the first time in its history to supply weapons to a country at war, the European Union’s chief executive expressed unequivocal support for Ukraine becoming a member of the bloc.
“Indeed over time, they belong to us. They are one of us and we want them in,” von der Leyen told Euronews.
The EU is also shutting down the airspace for Russian aircrafts, including private jets, to prevent them from landing in, taking off or overflying the territory. Russian planes have also been banned from UK airspace.
Russia’s biggest airline, Aeroflot, said it would cancel all flights to European destinations until further notice in a retaliatory move on Sunday.