The EU will formally assess applications from Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova to join the bloc, the French EU presidency said this week. Ambassadors in Brussels have triggered the move as many eastern European nations push for membership amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Each country has said that the rapidly changing security landscape must force the EU to swiftly consider the membership bids. Violence inflicted on civilians in Ukraine has provoked some in Kyiv to push for EU and NATO membership.
The country’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy officially signed an EU membership application on February 28, four days after Russia invaded his country.
Eight member states signed a letter supporting an accelerated ascension process for Ukraine, which could further speed up its integration of economic and energy systems with Europe.
Now, Inna Sovsun, a Ukrainian MP, has told Express.co.uk that she wants her country to be given “fast-track” entry into both blocs.
She said: “Of course, that is our big dream. It is part of our constitution as of now.
“I know Putin has been using this as a reason to invade Ukraine, which is just nonsensical as an argument.
“Let me remind everyone that Putin annexed Crimea in 2014 when we were officially a non-aligned state.
“He did not invade us because we want to join NATO — we want to join NATO because he invaded us.
“We belong to the club of nations that believe in democracy. We have proved ourselves to be committed to be dedicated to the cause of defending the civilised world.
“There were jokes going around on Ukrainian social media saying ‘if this was our audition for joining NATO I think we did a pretty good job.
“We do ask for fast-track membership, [and] I believe we [have] proved ourselves worthy of being a part of the European and Euro-Atlantic civilisation.”
Express.co.uk also spoke to Sviotaslav Yurash, the youngest MP in Ukraine’s history, who said his country is “more than ready” for NATO and EU membership.
He said: “I think Ukraine is showing that it is more than ready for NATO and EU membership.
“Ukraine has been making the case for years to join the EU and NATO. Ukraine has shown time and time again that we are ready.
“It is time to do the obvious – return Ukraine to the family of European nations.”
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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday declined to say whether and when Ukraine would be given EU membership
She said the Ukrainian people “belong in the European family,” but added that “this would take time” in an interview with CNN.
As for NATO membership, it appears Mr Zelensky is trying to placate Russia.
Yesterday, he hinted in an interview with ABC that he is no longer pressing for NATO membership.
Mr Zelensky said: “I have cooled down regarding this question a long time ago after we understood that … NATO is not prepared to accept Ukraine.
“The alliance is afraid of controversial things, and confrontation with Russia.”
Referring to NATO membership, Mr Zelensky said through an interpreter that he does not want to be president of a “country which is begging for something on its knees.”
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Mr Zelensky could also give ground in the dispute over the status of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine.
Prior to his invasion, Putin declared that Moscow recognised the two regions as independent states.
But now, Mr Zelensky has hinted that he is open to dialogue with the Kremlin over the issue.
He told ABC: “What is important to me is how the people in those territories are going to live who want to be part of Ukraine, who in Ukraine will say that they want to have them in.
“So the question is more difficult than simply acknowledging them.
“This is another ultimatum and we are not prepared for ultimatums.
“What needs to be done is for President Putin to start talking, start the dialogue instead of living in the informational bubble without oxygen.”
Mr Zelensky said that these two regions “have not been recognised by anyone but Russia, these pseudo republics.”
He added: “But we can discuss and find the compromise on how these territories will live on.”