That was the night: Scholz expects agreement on Ukraine’s EU membership application

Bundescancer Olaf Scholz (SPD) has expressed confidence that the EU members will find a common position on Ukraine’s application for membership. On Friday, the EU Commission recommended that Ukraine and Moldova be classified as candidate countries. During Scholz’s visit to Kyiv the day before, Ukraine had received support from Germany, France, Italy and Romania. An EU summit next week, at which unanimity is required, is decisive for recognition as a candidate for accession.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized the value of his country for the European Union. “Our rapprochement with the European Union is not only positive for us,” he said in his video address on Friday evening in Kyiv. “This is the biggest contribution to the future of Europe in many years.”

In eastern Ukraine, fierce fighting continued into Saturday night.

Zelenskyj: We are Europeans

“We are one step away from the start of full-fledged integration into the European Union,” said the President of Ukraine. The values ​​of Ukraine are European values. “The Ukrainian institutions remain stable even under the circumstances of the war.” Only with the Ukraine will the EU be able to secure its power, independence and development in the future. The integration will have a positive effect on the citizens: “The closer we stick to other European countries, the more opportunities we will have to ensure a modern, secure life for all Ukrainians.”

Scholz is “quite optimistic”

At the EU summit next Thursday and Friday (23/24 June), Scholz said: “We have to accept that this is a unanimous vote by 27 member states and we will have to find a common approach, but I am quite optimistic that we will will be able to do that.” As a result of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the EU acted as one, “and we will continue to do so,” said the Chancellor in a TV interview conducted in English by the German Press Agency.

The hurdles to EU membership are high, said Scholz. Among other things, he referred to the principles of the rule of law and democracy as well as the necessary anti-corruption laws. This applies to all countries that aspire to join the EU.

“The candidate status would be an important signal to Moscow that the EU will not be intimidated when it comes to defending our values,” said Vice-President of the European Parliament Katarina Barley (SPD). But there should be no hasty admission. The requirements should not be relaxed either. This is also important with a view to other accession candidates. “We owe them equal treatment,” said Barley of the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung” (Saturday).

Ukrainian troops under pressure in the east

Russian and Ukrainian troops fought fierce battles in eastern Ukraine without much changing on the fronts. According to the Ukrainian general staff, every street in the easternmost city of the front line, Severodonetsk in the Luhansk region, was fought over on Friday evening. The city and its surroundings are under heavy artillery fire.

In Severodonetsk, many Russian soldiers are being killed but are being replaced by new ones, said Luhansk governor Serhiy Hajday. It is impossible to bring the civilians hidden in bunkers under the Azot steelworks to safety. In contrast, the neighboring city of Lyssychansk is still under Ukrainian control. But the road to there was under fire from Russian artillery.

The general staff reported the recapture of a village near Izyum in the Kharkov region as a success. In the northeastern Ukrainian region of Sumy, the regional administration recorded multiple Russian shelling.

Because Ukraine is dependent on foreign weapons in its defensive struggle, Green Party leader Omid Nouripour called the bottlenecks in German supplies deeply frustrating. “The federal government is working on delivering more and faster,” he told the news portal T-Online. He can understand that things are not going fast enough for the Ukrainians. Scholz also assured that the deliveries of heavy weapons promised by Berlin will arrive in time to support the attacked Ukraine in the fight for the Donbass. “You will arrive in time.”

Putin justifies war as the only alternative

Russian President Vladimir Putin once again justified the war against Ukraine, which has been going on for almost four months, as there being no alternative. “In the current situation, against the background of increasing risks and threats to us, Russia’s decision to conduct a special military operation was (…) forced and necessary,” Putin said at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg. The West previously “literally pumped up Ukraine with its weapons and its military advisers”.

Meanwhile, Russian media presented two US soldiers who were fighting in the Ukrainian army and who had been captured by troops loyal to Moscow. In the interview, only part of which is shown, one of the men stated that he had been taken in by Western propaganda when he went to war.

Poland for another package of sanctions

Before a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday, Poland called for further punitive measures against Russia in order to persuade Moscow to give in to the Ukraine war. “It’s about expanding the sanctions. In our view, a seventh package of sanctions must be launched as quickly as possible. We have to keep up the pressure,” Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Lukasz Jasina told Welt am Sonntag. Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz said the sixth sanctions package had hit Russia hard. “But we haven’t been able to sufficiently weaken Putin and his military machine. So more and tougher sanctions are needed.”

Leave a Comment