Day 115 of the Invasion of Ukraine: Putin doesn’t Mind Ukraine’s Accession to the EU, Boris Visited Kyiv
Here are the highlights of events related to the war in Ukraine over the past 24 hours:
Lysychansk is under fire, heavy fighting continues in Sievierodonetsk
Lysychansk was subjected to massive shelling, local authorities said. According to them, there are many victims. Heavy fighting continues in Sievierodonetsk, although most of the city is controlled by Russian forces.
EU recommends Ukraine and Moldova for candidate status
Yesterday, the European Commission recommended that Ukraine and Moldova be granted EU candidate status.
"Ukraine deserves this positive decision. Ukrainian values are European values. Ukrainian institutions maintain stability even in conditions of war. Ukrainian democratic habits have not lost their force even now. Our rapprochement with the European Union is positive not only for us - it is the greatest contribution to the future of Europe for years " - said Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine.
Putin doesn’t mind Ukraine’s accession to the European Union
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he has nothing against Ukraine's accession to the European Union.
"Russia does not mind Ukraine's possible accession to the European Union," Russian President Vladimir Putin said after the European Commission's decision to recommend Kyiv for EU candidate status.
"We do not mind, their sovereign decision is whether to join an economic union or not. This is their job, the work of the Ukrainian people," Putin said at a plenary session of the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.
Russia, which has been advancing on Ukraine since February 24, does not take a good look at Kyiv's bid to join NATO, which Moscow sees as a threat to its security, but "as far as their economic integration is concerned, it is their choice." said Putin. "The EU is not a military alliance, unlike NATO," he stressed.
However, the Russian president warned that "Ukraine will become a semi-colony" of Western countries if it joins the EU. "This is my opinion," he added.
Boris Johnson surprisingly visited Kyiv
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a surprise visit to Kyiv.
Johnson is in the Ukrainian capital for the second time since the start of the war. He talked with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Downing Street has announced that the prime minister is in Ukraine to discuss "the valiant battle of Ukrainians against Russia." Johnson's cabinet also said that London was offering a large-scale training program for up to 10,000 troops and that the program would help Kyiv step up its resistance.
The aim is to send a simple and clear message to the Ukrainian people that the United Kingdom is with them and will continue to do so until it finally wins, the British prime minister said.
Merkel: Putin may have been waiting for me to leave my post in order to invade Ukraine
Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel has not ruled out Russian President Vladimir Putin waiting for her to step down before invading Ukraine.
She said her departure may indeed have played a contributing role, but added other possible factors, such as "the French election, the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and the stalemate in the implementation of the Minsk agreements".
Merkel admitted that by the end of her term, her ability to influence Russian President Vladimir Putin had significantly weakened, DPA reported, quoted by BTA. "It was clear that I would not be chancellor for a long time, so I just have to admit that various attempts (to negotiate) last year were unsuccessful," she said in an interview with German media.
Merkel, who has been Germany's chancellor for 16 years, kept in touch with Putin even during difficult times and sought to never cut off communication. She resigned after last year's parliamentary elections and was officially dismissed in December 2021.
From a distance, Merkel said Putin no longer wanted to hold a summit in the so-called Norman format, which includes Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France.
"On the other hand, I also failed to create any additional Russian-European discussion format on European security issues to the already existing Norman format," the former chancellor said.
Asked to comment on whether she would hire a mediator in the conflict, she said: "There is no such question at the moment."
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