This Happened in Ukraine During the Night – Part 111

06/17/2022, 06:3106/17/2022, 06:32

A day after Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his colleagues from Italy, France and Romania visited Kyiv, Ukraine can hope to garner more support for its EU membership ambitions on Friday. Around noon, the European Union Commission in Brussels wants to present its recommendation on how to deal with Ukraine’s application for EU membership. There will also be recommendations and analysis of Moldova and Georgia membership applications.

>> All current developments in the live broadcast tape

Germany wants Ukraine as a candidate for EU membership

German Chancellor Olaf Schulz (Social Democratic Party) and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke in Kyiv on Thursday in favor of Ukraine becoming a candidate country. Germany and France argue that candidate status does not anticipate the admission decision, nor is it linked to a time frame. For example, Turkey has been a candidate for accession since 1999.

Schulz said Thursday night in ZDF that Ukraine’s path to the European Union was a “very demanding road” and could also take “a very long time”. However, the status as a candidate for accession means that hope on the way to Europe becomes tangible for the people of Ukraine. And on the time horizon, the SPD politician said no one could seriously answer that. “But it’s worth it, that’s the message.”

With regard to ZDF and ARD, the chancellor identified progress in the rule of law and the fight against corruption as prerequisites for accession to the European Union. Schulz and Macron traveled to Kyiv on Thursday with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.

Zelensky sees a ‘historic day’ for Ukraine

After the meeting, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in his evening video address, spoke of a “historic day” for his country. Ukraine has never come close to the European Union since its independence. Thanks to the courage of Ukrainian men and women, Europe can write a new history of freedom and “finally eliminate the gray area between the EU and Russia in Eastern Europe”.

Shortly after the start of the Russian war of aggression on February 24, Ukraine submitted an application for admission to the European Union. Then the EU countries asked the EU Commission to deal with it and make a recommendation. The decision of the heads of state and government of the European Union could come on Ukraine’s request to join the upcoming summit, which begins next Thursday in Brussels.

Violent Russian attacks in eastern Ukraine

According to its command, Ukrainian forces in the east of the country are still under heavy Russian fire with artillery and multiple rocket launchers. On Thursday evening, the General Staff named the cities of Sevgerodonetsk and Lesekhansk and their surroundings, which have been in conflict for days. At two more points on the front, on the other hand, it was possible to repel the enemy’s advance.

The information was initially unverifiable. In the Kharkiv region, Russian forces with artillery fire prevented the Ukrainians from advancing near the border between the two countries, the sources said. Russian relief operations are underway on parts of the front near the city of Donetsk and near Zaporizhia in order to rein in Ukrainian forces.

Ukrainian threatening gestures against Russian bridge to Crimea

In its defensive struggle against Russia, Ukraine also sees the important Russian bridge to Crimea as a military objective. In a sort of threatening gesture, Ukraine’s military intelligence released the purported official Russian specifications for the bridge with construction details on Thursday. The approximately 300-page document could not be validated immediately.

The day before, Ukrainian General Dmytro Marchenko said that if Ukraine obtained the necessary weapons, the destruction of the bridge would be “goal number 1”. Finally, Russian supplies rolled across the bridge to Crimea and from there to southern Ukraine. The 18-kilometre bridge across the Kerch Strait, built at a cost of billions, connects mainland Russia with the peninsula that was annexed four years ago since 2018.

In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Peskov confirmed Thursday that all precautions have been taken to ensure the security of Crimea. The Kremlin is aware of the new threats from Kyiv against the bridge. There were already threats from Moscow to bomb the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, in the event of an attack on the building.

What about the other candidate countries?

Related to the question of the status of Ukraine’s candidate deal with other countries that hope for concrete prospects for accession to the European Union. For example, Austrian Chancellor Neyhamer announced immediately before the EU Commission’s recommendation that his country would accept candidate status for Ukraine only if the same procedure was followed with Bosnia and Herzegovina. “We must make sure that the same criteria are applied as with other developed countries from the Western Balkans. Against this background, it would be unreasonable for me to grant Ukraine candidate status and at the same time keep countries like Bosnia and Herzegovina out of the picture.”

It must be ensured that the EU applies “the same standards” to Ukraine as it does to other developed countries of the Western Balkans. “There should be no double standards or even first- and second-class applicants,” he said.

The western Balkan country of Bosnia and Herzegovina had already applied for membership at the beginning of 2016 and had only been considered a “potential candidate for membership” for years. Nahamer emphasized that it was indisputable that Ukraine was “part of the European family.”

Romanian head of state Iohannis also wants Moldova and Georgia to have candidate status. “Ensuring the placement of the EU candidate for Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia in the European Council next week is necessary to build a strong and lasting shield around our values,” he said in Kyiv.

This will be important today

The International Economic Forum is being held in Saint Petersburg, to which much fewer foreign guests came this year due to the war. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to take advantage of this stage and explain how he intends to further develop the resource superpower despite the sanctions.

Around noon, the European Union Commission in Brussels wants to present its recommendation on how to deal with Ukraine’s application for EU membership. There will also be recommendations and analysis of Moldova and Georgia membership applications.

According to information from the German news agency at night, the authority, headed by Ursula von der Leyen, will most likely advocate granting Ukraine and Moldova the status of candidates to join the European Union. At the same time, according to information received from the Commission’s circles, it should be clarified that further progress in the accession process must be linked to specific conditions. Therefore, Ukraine is concerned with the progress made in the rule of law and in the fight against corruption.

According to Commission sources, Georgia, which also aims to join the European Union, will be granted candidate status only after certain conditions are met. Like Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, the country will initially only be a potential candidate for accession.

On the recommendation of the EU Commission, EU countries must decide how to proceed. To date, the views of governments on this topic have differed greatly. According to diplomats, countries such as Portugal and the Netherlands consider the granting of candidate status to the three countries in Eastern Europe to be premature and purely symbolic. (sda/dpa)

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