Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he spoke with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Friday and that Ukraine intends to make progress on its application to join the European Union in the coming months.

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“Had substantial conversation with EC President,” Zelensky said on Twitter. “EC opinion on UA (Ukraine) application for #EU membership will be prepared within few months. UA Government and EC are instructed. Moving to our strategic goal together.”

Ukraine will not forsake its aspiration to join the European Union in order to strike an agreement with Russia to stop the war, Zelensky’s deputy chief of staff said on Friday.

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“I will be categorical, this is absolutely unacceptable. It is our choice, the application for EU membership has been submitted and now it is being put into practice,” deputy chief of staff Andrii Sybiha said.

Sybiha stated on national television that negotiations with Russia were ongoing but challenging.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted photos of himself signing the EU application late in February, a largely symbolic move that could take years to become a reality and is unlikely to sit well with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has long accused the West of attempting to pull Ukraine into its orbit.

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Leaders of the European Union criticised Russia’s “unspeakable suffering” imposed on Ukraine, but rejected Kyiv’s request for immediate membership to the group as they convened to handle the impact from Moscow’s assault on its neighbour.

The Russian invasion, Europe’s worst assault on a European state since World War II, has upended Europe’s security order and prompted EU capitals to reconsider the bloc’s economic, defence, and energy strategies.

In the days following Russia’s February 24 attack, the EU was quick to impose sweeping sanctions and offer diplomatic and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, as well as some weaponry supplies.

However, gaps in the bloc’s united front have developed, ranging from its reaction to Kyiv’s desire for faster membership in the club to how quickly it can wean itself off Russian fossil fuels and how best to frame an economic response.

In a gesture of sympathy and spiritual support, European Council President Charles Michel stated, “Ukraine belongs to the European family.”

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Others, though, made it plain that Ukraine would not be permitted to join the EU quickly, as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has requested and which has some backing from Ukraine’s neighbours on the EU’s eastern border.

“There is no fast-track process,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, a vocal opponent of EU enlargement, stated that the EU would continue to strengthen ties with Kyiv.