Putin says he has ‘nothing against’ Ukraine joining the EU

Russia has “nothing against” Ukraine’s eventual accession to the European Union (EU), Russian President Vladimir Putin assured on Friday, after the European Commission recommended granting candidate status to Ukraine, in the midst of the offensive. Russian military.

“We have nothing against it, joining economic unions is a sovereign decision (…). It’s your business, the Ukrainian people’s business,” Putin said at the plenary session of the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.

“Unlike NATO, the EU is not a military alliance,” he continued, referring to the US-led transatlantic defense pact that Kiev hoped to join.

“As far as economic integration is concerned, the choice is theirs,” insisted Putin, who on February 24 ordered military intervention in Ukraine, citing the need to defend the Russian-speaking minority in the east from “neo-Nazis” as the government calls it. from Kiev.

However, Putin also said that if Ukraine is admitted to the EU, it will “become a semi-colony” of Western countries. “This is my opinion,” he said.

Hours earlier, Russian diplomacy accused the EU of manipulating Ukraine with the prospect of membership.

“Western countries have been manipulating this idea of ​​some sort of Ukrainian participation in their integration structures for years, and since then Ukraine has gone from bad to worse,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

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