European Council President Charles Michel said Thursday evening that European Union leaders had approved the candidacy of Ukraine and Moldova for membership in the European Union, which the Ukrainian president considered a “unique and historic moment.”
“Agreement. The European Council has just decided to grant Ukraine and Moldova the status of a candidate for the European Union. This is a historic moment,” Michel added in a tweet on Twitter.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed what he considered a “unique and historic moment,” writing on Twitter, “It is a unique and historic moment in the relations between Ukraine and the European Union,” stressing that “Ukraine’s future is at the heart of the European Union.”
Granting the status of a candidate for membership is the first step for many on the path to joining the bloc, and this nomination gives the right to obtain financial support for social, legal and economic reforms with the aim of bringing the country aspiring to membership closer to the standards of the European Union.
In a parallel context, Ukraine announced – on Thursday – the arrival of advanced US missile launchers to strengthen its military arsenal in the face of the Russian attack.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov announced the arrival in Ukraine of the US HIMARS missile launchers, a system that is characterized by high accuracy and has a launch range of 80 km.
“Himars has arrived in Ukraine, thank you to my colleague and friend Lloyd Austin (US Secretary of Defense) for these powerful tools,” Reznikov wrote in a tweet, attaching his message to a picture of this portable rocket launcher system installed on light armored vehicles.
The minister threatened that the summer “will be hot for the Russian occupiers, and the latter for some of them,” without specifying the number of HIMARS launchers handed over by the Americans.
Kyiv’s delivery of the US missile launchers came at a time when the separatist Luhansk authorities said that Russian forces had taken control of the only remaining supply route for Ukrainian forces in the city of Lysichansk, while the governor of Lugansk Province, Sergey Gaidai, said that the supply routes towards the city were still impassable.
The Russian forces’ control of the only remaining supply route for Ukrainian forces in the city of Lysichansk means cutting off military supplies to about 7,000 Ukrainian forces in the city adjacent to the strategic city of Severodonetsk.
For its part, British intelligence said that it is very likely that Russian forces have advanced more than 5 kilometers towards the southern entrances to the Donbass region in Lysechhansk since last Sunday.
While the command of the Ukrainian forces acknowledged their retreat in a number of areas, it also announced that areas in the Dnipro Province (central) were subjected to missile strikes that caused destruction and cut off the main services. The Ukrainian Southern Operations Command also said that the Russian forces are trying to repel a Ukrainian counterattack towards the Kherson region (south). .
In Mykolaiv, not far from Kherson, the Russian Defense Ministry said that it had destroyed with high-precision weapons Ukrainian arms depots, and in the Black Sea the Ukrainian army said it was continuing to “carry out an uninterrupted military operation to defeat the enemy forces on Snake Island.”
On the other hand, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said that the Ukrainian grain crisis must be addressed in the next month, otherwise the repercussions will be catastrophic, as she put it.
Truss said, in a press conference with her Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara, that Russian President Vladimir Putin “is using hunger as a weapon in his war on Ukraine, and uses food security to put pressure in the war. He has seized 20 million tons of grain,” adding, “It is She will visit Turkey in order to discuss how to take out Ukrainian grain with the support of the United Nations.”
In turn, the Turkish Foreign Minister said that he is communicating with Russia and Ukraine to solve the crisis of transporting grain from Ukrainian ports, and that there is a safe zone that will be formed in the Black Sea outside Ukrainian territorial waters to monitor, inspect and secure grain transport ships, and ensure that they are not transporting other goods such as weapons or others.
In Tehran, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Washington of seeking to change the principles of international law, denouncing its policies in imposing sanctions on independent countries. Lavrov’s statement came in a joint press conference that followed his talks with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir Abdollahian in the Iranian capital.
The Iranian minister said that he reiterated to Russia his country’s position on the war in Ukraine, which is the need for a diplomatic solution to the crisis.