Russian-Ukrainian war: We are ready for new attacks, says Zelensky

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youKraine Chairman Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia would step up its attacks this week as European Union leaders consider backing Kyiv’s bid to join the bloc.

Ukraine applied to join the EU four days after Russian troops crossed its border in February. The EU’s executive, the European Commission, recommended on Friday that Ukraine be granted candidate status.

Leaders of the 27-nation union will discuss the issue at a summit on Thursday and Friday and are expected to endorse Ukraine’s candidacy, despite reluctance from some member states. The process could take many years.

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EU membership in Ukraine would interfere with one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s stated goals when he ordered his troops into Ukraine: to keep Moscow’s southern neighbor out of the sphere influence from the West.

Putin said on Friday that Moscow had “nothing against” Ukraine’s EU membership, but a Kremlin spokesman said Russia was closely following Kyiv’s bid, especially in light increased defense cooperation among member countries.

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