As fighting continues to rage in the Russia-Ukraine war, French President Emmanuel Macron guaranteed increased delivery of arms to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy and confirmed that Kyiv’s application for EU membership will be discussed next month by the governing body, according to a statement released by the Elysee on Tuesday.
The latest phone call between the two leaders on a range of issues, including the military situation, negotiation process, fuel, and humanitarian delivery, was described by Zelenskyy as “long and meaningful.”
According to the European Commission, formal negotiation is the first stage toward membership, but “the negotiations cannot start until all EU governments agree, in the form of a unanimous decision by the EU Council, on a framework or mandate for negotiations with the candidate country.”
Macron informed Zelenskyy that “Ukraine’s application for membership of the European Union would be studied during the European Council in June on the basis of the opinion that the Commission will have given the European Union,” the statement added.
Ukraine has appealed to the EU to fast-track its application for membership, which can take decades till negotiations and accession criteria are fulfilled. Zelenskyy initiated the process four days after Russia launched a war on Ukraine on Feb. 24.
During the hour-long phone call, Macron also guaranteed that France will increase the arms deliveries in the days and weeks to come, assuring to meet “all requests for support for defense equipment, fuel, humanitarian aid, economic and financial support,” required by Kyiv to fight impunity.
Since Feb. 24, Paris has delivered more than 800 tons of humanitarian aid, including 13 additional relief vehicles last week.
Macron also discussed the military situation in Ukraine’s port city of Mariupol and the evacuations from the Azovstal steel plant. The Ukrainian military said it has ceded control of the plant to the Russian army and was working to evacuate its troops.
At least 3,752 people have been killed and 4,062 injured in Ukraine since Russia began its war on Feb. 24, according to UN estimates. The true toll is believed to be much higher.
Over 6.2 million people have fled to other countries, with some 7.7 million people internally displaced, according to the UN refugee agency.
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