The European Commission is due to meet Friday to give its fast-tracked opinion on Ukraine’s bid for European Union candidacy status, which would bring the embattled country a step closer to membership a day after the bloc’s most powerful leaders visited Kyiv. Follow FRANCE 24’s liveblog for the latest updates. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).
6:55am: European Union to give fast-tracked opinion on Ukraine membership bid
The European Commission will meet Friday to give its fast-tracked opinion on Ukraine’s bid for European Union candidacy, which would be a step closer to membership for the country a day after the bloc’s most powerful leaders visited Kyiv as it continues to battle Russia’s invasion.
Never before has an opinion been given so quickly on EU candidacy, which must be approved by all 27 member states.
The opinion will serve as a basis for discussion at next week’s EU summit, where leaders are expected to approve Ukraine’s candidate status, but with stern conditions attached, and membership may take years or even decades.
France, Germany, Italy and Romania are all in favour of Ukraine receiving “immediate” candidate status, French President Emmanuel Macron said in Kyiv on Thursday.
1:05am: Russia has ‘strategically lost’ Ukraine war, UK armed forces chief says
Russia has already “strategically lost” its war with Ukraine, suffering heavy losses and strengthening NATO, the United Kingdom’s chief of defence staff said in an interview published Friday.
“This is a dreadful mistake by Russia. Russia will never take control of Ukraine,” said Tony Radakin, the country’s highest-ranking military officer, adding it would emerge a “more diminished power”.
The admiral said Russian President Vladimir Putin may achieve “tactical successes” in the weeks to come, but had sacrificed a quarter of his country’s army power for “tiny” gains and was running out of troops and high-tech missiles.
“Russia is failing,” he said.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS and AFP)