Zelensky signs EU membership application

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday signed a membership application formally requesting that Ukraine join the European Union (EU) amid a Russian invasion of his country.

Andriy Sybiha, deputy head of the president’s office in Ukraine, said in a tweet that head of parliament Ruslan Stefanchuk and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal had also signed a joint statement.

“The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky has just signed a historical document-Ukraine’s application for European Union membership,” Sybiha wrote on Twitter.

“Glory to Ukraine!” he added.

The tweet included photos of the application and the three men signing the papers.

In a Facebook post cited by Interfax Ukraine, Sybiha said the documents were on their way to Brussels.

Zelensky had asked earlier Monday that Ukraine be added to the bloc as his country fights off an invasion by Russia.

“Our goal is to be together with all Europeans and, most importantly, to be on an equal footing,” Zelensky said during a video address, according to The New York Times. “I’m sure it’s fair. I’m sure it’s possible.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a military operation in Ukraine last week, setting off what has been a days-long invasion. While Russian forces have entered a number of Ukrainian cities, their efforts have been slowed by strong Ukrainian opposition.

The Council of the European Union condemned the Russian invasion last week, calling the operation “unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine.”

“Russia bears full responsibility for this act of aggression and all the destruction and loss of life it will cause. It will be held accountable for its actions,” the council added.

The EU approved sanctions against key members of Putin’s inner circle last week after the president recognized the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic in Ukraine as independent. Following the military operation, the European Council imposed more sanctions against the country, ranging from the financial, energy and transport sectors to dual-use goods, export control and export financings, and visa policy.

On Sunday, the European Commission said it was imposing sanctions on Belarus in response to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s support for the Russian invasion. It also unveiled more sanctions against Moscow, including barring Russian aircraft from flying in the bloc’s territory.

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