Ursula von der Leyen promised to speed up Ukraine’s EU membership application
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the civilian death in the Ukrainian city of Bucha showed the “cruel face” of the Russian army and vowed to speed up Ukraine’s attempt to join the European Union.
Visiting Bucha, where forensic specialists were beginning to exhume bodies from a mass grave, Ms Von der Leyen appeared visibly moved by what she saw in the city, where Ukrainian officials say hundreds of civilians have been killed by Russian forces .
Russia has labeled allegations that its forces executed civilians in Bucha as a “monstrous fabrication” designed to denigrate the Russian army.
Ms Von der Leyen said the EU could never match Ukraine’s sacrifice and offered her a faster start on her bid to join the bloc.
She handed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a questionnaire to use as a starting point for a decision on membership, saying: “It won’t be a matter of years, as usual, to form this opinion, but I think it is question of weeks.”
Mr Zelensky told the press conference he would come back with answers in a week.
“Russia will plunge into economic, financial and technological decline while Ukraine marches towards the European future, I can see that,” von der Leyen said.
Earlier in Bucha, she told reporters that “here the unthinkable happened.”
“We have seen the cruel face of Putin’s army. We saw the ruthlessness and callousness with which they occupied the city,” she said.
The images from Bucha, which was recaptured along with other towns north of Kyiv as Russian forces retreated to focus their efforts on the east of the country, have prompted renewed efforts by Western nations to target Moscow for the February 24 invasion to punish.
Ms. von der Leyen’s trip to Kyiv was aimed at offering moral and financial support to Mr. Zelensky. She pledged her support for Ukraine to “emerge from the war as a democratic country,” something the EU and other donors would help with, she said.
Josep Borrell, the EU’s chief diplomat, said he hoped the EU could allocate another 500 million euros to Ukraine for arms purchases in a few days.
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/ursula-von-der-leyen-in-pledge-to-speed-up-ukraines-application-to-join-eu-41536002.html Ursula von der Leyen promised to speed up Ukraine’s EU membership application