BRUSSELS, Jun 18, 2022 (AFP) – President Volodymyr Zelensky praised Brussels’ support for Ukraine’s European Union (EU) candidacy, “good news” for the country, whose eastern Donbass region is under “fierce fighting” against Russian troops.
Yesterday, Friday (17), the European Commission led a powerful show of support for Ukraine in its bid to receive EU candidate “status”, a boost that could put the country on the bloc’s list of aspirants as soon as next year. week.
The bloc’s 27 member countries are expected to support the candidacy at the Brussels summit next week. Immediately, Kiev already has the support of powers such as France, Germany and Italy.
While this is the beginning of a process that could take years, Zelensky said he expected “a positive outcome” at the summit. Ukraine “deserves good news,” he commented.
On the inclusion of Ukraine’s accession to the EU, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that he had “nothing against it”.
“Unlike NATO, the EU is not a military alliance” and “joining economic unions is a sovereign decision … of the Ukrainian people,” Putin told the plenary session of the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.
He added, however, that if Ukraine is admitted to the EU, “it will become a semi-colony” of Western countries.
– Visit – This Saturday (18), the president, who has not left the national capital since the beginning of the war, visited the city of Mykolaiv, in southern Ukraine, where he visited a residential building badly damaged by a bombing.
A video released by the Ukrainian Presidency shows Zelenky inspecting a badly damaged residential building. In the building, there is a large hole, through which it is possible to see the interior of the apartments.
The president also attended a meeting with local officials, in what appears to be a basement, where he presented them with awards for their bravery.
According to the presidential office, “they spoke about the state of the economy, the resumption of water supply and the situation of agriculture”.
This displacement comes a day after a Russian attack that left two dead and 20 wounded in this port and industrial city, where around half a million people lived before the war.
The town is the target of Russian attacks, as it is on the route to Odessa, Ukraine’s main port, 130 km to the southwest.
– More “destruction” – On the ground, intense fighting is ravaging the cities of the Donbass region, where huge areas have been occupied by Russian troops.
“Now the fiercest battle is near Severodonetsk,” Lugansk region governor Sergei Gaidai said, adding that Russian forces did not control the entire city.
Gaidai also reported “difficult” fighting in Toshkivska and Zoloth and reported that the city of Lysychansk, which is separated by a river from Severodonetsk, was being “harshly bombed”.
Gaidai also described more “destruction” at the Azot chemical plant in Severodonetsk, where there are 568 refugees, including 38 children. And in Lysychansk, residents are preparing to flee.
“We are abandoning everything and leaving. No one can survive such an attack,” said teacher Alla Bor, who awaits the moment with her son-in-law Volodymyr and her 14-year-old grandson.
“We left the house. We left food for our dog. It’s inhumane, but what else can we do?”, he asks.