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EU approves Ukraine candidacy for membership; Ukraine admits ‘threat of a tactical Russian victory’ in Donbas: Live updates

  • June 24, 2022

The European Union leadership approved Ukraine’s candidacy for membership Thursday, starting the embattled nation on a yearslong path toward cementing a closer relationship with the West as it attempts to distance itself from its Russian invaders.

“Historic agreement, historic decision,” European Council President Charles Michel tweeted after the decision was announced on the first day of an EU leaders summit in Belgium.

Ukraine has already implemented about 70% of EU rules, norms and standards, European officials have said. But they warned that the country still needs political and economic reforms, pointing to corruption. EU candidate status doesn’t guarantee Ukraine membership and does not provide the military security provided by NATO membership. Still, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was elated.

“Sincerely commend EU leaders’ decision at #EUCO to grant a candidate status,” he tweeted. “It’s a unique and historical moment.”

The EU also granted candidate status to Moldova, a tiny, non-NATO country that borders Ukraine.

USA TODAY ON TELEGRAM:Join our Russia-Ukraine war channel to receive updates straight to your phone

Latest developments:

►The U.S. will send $450 million more in military aid to Ukraine, including more medium-range rocket systems, officials said Thursday.

►Nike announced it will fully shut down operations in Russia after initially suspending its company-owned business three months ago. “Our priority is to ensure we are fully supporting our employees while we responsibly scale down our operations over the coming months,” the company said.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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