zelensky von der leyen

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (left) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speak at a press conference in Kyiv on June 11.
The European Commission has taken a historic step, recommending Ukraine and Moldova be granted European Union candidate status, a move that marks the start of what will likely be a long journey toward full EU integration.

The recommendation, announced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on June 17, will be discussed by leaders of the 27-nation bloc during a summit next week in Brussels. Launching accession talks requires unanimous approval from all member countries.

The unprecedented move by the European body comes as Kyiv fights a devastating war against Russia, which launched an unprovoked invasion of its neighbor on February 24 that has killed tens of thousands of people and caused huge material destruction.

"We all know that Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective. We want them to live with us the European dream," von der Leyen said at a press conference in Brussels.

Comment: Many deluded and brainwashed Ukrainians sure are willing cannon fodder, and it's likely that sacrificing themselves for the West's proxy war is as close as they'll ever get to experiencing the fantasy that is the 'European dream'.

"Yes, Ukraine should be welcomed as a candidate country. This is based on the understanding that good work has been done, but important work also remains to be done," von der Leyen said.

Comment: Von der Leyen might be referring to the rampant corruption that bars Ukraine from accession, and that has riddled the country since even before the US coup in 2014: Corruption is major obstacle to Ukraine's EU bid, say Norwegian researchers

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy immediately welcomed the decision as a "first step on the EU membership path that'll certainly bring our victory closer."

Zelenskiy thanked von der Leyen for the commission's "historic decision" and said he expected that EU leaders would give Ukraine a "positive result" at next week's summit.

In a largely symbolic move, Zelenskiy also announced that Ukraine would be scrapping visa-free entry for Russians from next month.

Comment: Symbolic, indeed; because few Russian's would want to visit Ukraine at this time.

"According to a decision that is planned by the Cabinet of Ministers, Ukraine will introduce a visa regime for Russian citizens from July 1, 2022," he said.

In Chisinau, Moldovan President Maia Sandu also hailed the European Commission's announcement.

"The recommendation is based on the understanding that our country would put more efforts in such key areas as justice reform, the fight against corruption, public administration, and human rights," Sandu said.

"This is an important moment for the future of the Republic of Moldova, and this is the hope our citizens need," she said on Telegram, adding that "we know that the process will be difficult, but we are determined to follow this path."

The commission said another aspirant that submitted its membership this spring, Georgia, would only receive candidate status once it meets certain conditions.

"It should be granted candidate status once a number of priorities have been addressed," the commission said in a statement.

"To succeed, the country must now come together politically, to design a clear path towards structural reform and the European Union -- a path that concretely sets out the necessary reforms, brings on board civil society, and benefits from broad political support," von der Leyen said at the news conference.

Comment: The same 'stuctural reform' that essentially neutralises any autonomy a country had once it joins.

In reaction to the announcement, the Kremlin said that it was closely following Ukraine's efforts to become an EU member.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the issue "requires our heightened attention, because we are all aware of the intensification of discussions in Europe on the subject of strengthening the defense component of the EU."

"There are various transformations that we are observing in the most careful way," he told a telephone briefing with journalists.

Brussel's groundbreaking decision was largely expected after it was recommended by the leaders of the EU's largest three economies during a visit on June 16 to the Ukrainian capital.

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said after a meeting with Zelenskiy that they were in favor of Ukraine receiving "immediate" candidate status.

Comment: However, for the unanimous vote, they'll need to have a polite word with Orban: European Parliament drafts 'veto overhaul' following Hungary's possible dissent to not sanction Russia

The visit carried heavy symbolism for the EU's backing of Zelenskiy, who has called on the European Union to offer his nation membership through a shortened procedure that would amount to a "powerful response" to Russia's unprovoked invasion.

Zelenskiy submitted Ukraine's bid for EU membership shortly after the Russian invasion began on February 24, with Moldova and Georgia following suit immediately afterward.