On June 17, Western media report about the European Commission recommendations that the EU grant Ukraine the status of a candidate to join the bloc, whether Ukraine will obtain real candidate status and how the Kremlin will respond to this.
Meanwhile, British intelligence states that at the strategic level, Russia has already lost the war.
Chance to become candidate for joining EU
On June 17, the European Commission approved Ukraine's proposal to become a candidate for EU membership.
According to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the Commission made this decision, given that Kyiv has yet to carry out a number of important reforms.
"Ukraine has clearly shown commitment to live up to European values and standards," she stressed.
Later, the politician also pinned a tweet in which she noted:
"Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective. We want them to live with us the European dream."
So far, this is the first step on a long road to Ukraine's membership, because the recommendation of the European Commission is yet to be discussed next week in Brussels by the leaders of 27 EU member states, Sky News reports. In order for Ukraine to acquire the official status of a candidate, it must be agreed upon by all 27 countries.
Blue and yellow outfit and expectations from Ukraine
The next steps for a real accession of Ukraine to the EU may take more than 10 years, The New York Times reports.
The European Commission recommended granting the same status to Moldova, but not to Georgia. The outlet also calls the visit of the leaders of France, Germany, Italy, and Romania, which previously reported about, a landmark one.
The outlet also reports that Ursula von der Leyen opened Friday’s meeting of E.U. commissioners in Brussels wearing a blue shirt and a yellow blazer, Ukraine’s national colors.
The Commission stressed that Ukraine’s and Moldova’s candidate statuses are tied to overhauls on the rule of law, justice and anti-corruption.
The steps that Ukraine is required to take include strengthening the fight against corruption and against oligarchs, legislation on the selection of judges to the country’s top court, protection of minorities, and a new law on mass-media.
Also of great concern to Europeans are the country's problems with endemic corruption, as well as all the other setbacks that Ukraine will face after the war.
Doubts within EU and Ze's reaction
According to the NYT, EU member states are split between those who believe that although Ukraine is not technically ready to begin the massive changes needed to join B-27, it should still be granted candidate status as an important gesture of support in its defense against Russia.
Other countries would prefer a promise, but with caveats and criteria to be met along the way.
For his part, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy appreciate the Сommission's step:
"It’s the 1st step on the EU membership path that’ll certainly bring our Victory closer," the Ukrainian leader stressed and added that he would also expect a positive decision from the EU leaders next week.
The outlet also notes that the issue of granting Ukraine the status of a candidate is not only whether Kyiv is ready, but also whether the bloc itself is ready for further expansion.
"The bloc moved away from its original concept of free trade to become more of a geopolitical entity, but the process has been incomplete and sometimes dramatic," NYT reports.
The UK's exit from the EU was of particular importance, not least because it was the first time the bloc had been reduced. It also mattered that London was the EU's greatest supporter, and the trauma from Brexit plays a role in enlargement reflections.
Another issue, which we have also already reported about, is the expectation of the Western Balkans, in particular Albania and North Macedonia, to join the EU.
Russia has already lost war strategically
The head of the UK’s armed forces Admiral Sir Tony Radakin believes that Russia has already "strategically lost" the war in Ukraine and is now a "more diminished power," The Guardian reports.
According to him, the Kremlin is suffering heavy losses, running out of troops and advanced missiles and would never be able to take over all of Ukraine.
"This is a dreadful mistake by Russia. Russia will never take control of Ukraine," Radakin said.
He added that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, had lost 25% of the Kremlin’s land power for only "tiny" gains.
With the strengthening of NATO with the help of Finland and Sweden, Russia will become even more diminished.
At the same time, Radakin acknowledged that Putin could make tactical gains in the coming weeks, but he was running out of troops and high-tech missiles.
"President Putin has used about 25% of his army’s power to gain a tiny amount of territory and 50,000 people either dead or injured. Russia is failing," he stressed.
Radakin’s claims echo British intelligence reports, the latest of which said some Russian tactical groups – typically established at about 600 to 800 personnel – have only been able to muster as few as 30 soldiers.
"Measured against Russia’s original plan, none of the strategic objectives have been achieved. In order for Russia to achieve any form of success will require continued huge investment of manpower and equipment, and is likely to take considerable further time," a report reads.
Whether Ukraine's EU accession annoys Putin
CNN, meanwhile, analyzes why Ukraine's EU bid could enrage Vladimir Putin.
The outlet recalls that In 2013, the Maidan revolution erupted after former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych opposed the European perspective of Ukraine. After that, Russia annexed Crimea and invaded Donbas.
Analyzing how Russia might react, the outlet recalls that Moscow had previously stated that Ukraine's accession to the EU would be tantamount to joining NATO. Therefore, the fact that Kyiv will be warmly received by an institution so tied to the West will certainly be regarded by Putin as an act of aggression.
Instead of an afterword. Ukraine has received the first positive signal about joining the EU, but this is not yet a final decision. Now the question is whether all 27 member countries will agree on Kyiv's candidacy.
But in any case, Europe is ready to show Putin that it is making efforts for the European integration advancement of Ukraine, which has long abandoned the "pivot" to the Russian direction, especially after all the atrocities committed by the invaders.