Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has warned that Russia would intensify its attacks this week as European Union leaders weigh whether to support his country’s application to join the group and Russia continues its drive to seize control of east Ukraine.
“Obviously, we should anticipate Russia to intensify its aggressive operations this week,” Zelenskiy said in a Sunday night video message. “We’re getting ready. We are prepared.”
Ukraine applied for EU membership four days after Russian forces crossed the border in February. The European Commission, the EU’s executive, proposed that Ukraine be granted candidate status on Friday.
Leaders of the 27-nation union will debate the issue at a conference on Thursday and Friday and are anticipated to support Ukraine’s proposal despite reservations expressed by several member nations. The procedure might take several years to finish.
The EU’s embrace of Ukraine would run counter to one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s avowed intentions when he sent troops into Ukraine: keeping Moscow’s southern neighbor out of the sphere of influence of the West.