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EU to Ukraine: Further strengthening of ties, but so far without status of candidate for membership

The leaders of the European Union approved the conclusions, in which they announced their intention to further strengthen ties and partnership with Ukraine, but this does not yet include granting the country the status of a candidate for EU membership.

The corresponding conclusions were adopted during the informal EU summit that is being held on March 10-11 in Versailles (France). The discussion of the Ukrainian issue began at 21:30 on March 10 (22:30 Kyiv time) and ended at 02:30 on March 11 (03:30 Kyiv time), Interfax-Ukraine's own correspondent reported.

"A historic night at Versailles. After five hours of heated discussions, EU leaders said yes to Ukrainian eurointegration. Heroic Ukrainian nation deserves to know that they are welcome in the EU," Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda tweeted.

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"On February 28, exercising the right of Ukraine to choose its own destiny, the president of Ukraine submitted the application of Ukraine to become a member of the European Union. The Council has acted swiftly and invited the European Commission to submit its opinion on this application in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Treaties. Pending this and without delay, we will further strengthen our bonds and deepen our partnership to support Ukraine in pursuing its European path. Ukraine belongs to our European family," the summit resolution says.

In addition, the Council invited the EC to submit its findings on the applications of Moldova and Georgia.

EU leaders have approved the decision of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to launch an investigation. "We demand that Russia ceases its military action and withdraws all forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine immediately and unconditionally, and fully respects Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognized borders."

The document states: "We are committed to provide support for the reconstruction of a democratic Ukraine once the Russian onslaught has ceased. We will ensure that the sanctions we have imposed are fully implemented and remain ready to move quickly with further sanctions if needed,

EU leaders urged that through the swift adoption of the proposal on Cohesion's Action for Refugees in Europe (CARE) and through the ReactEU mechanism, the necessary funds be immediately provided to assist refugees from Ukraine who are in EU countries.

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