Ever since the Ukrainian color revolution in 2014, Ukraine has been aggressively courting pro-western organizations like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union for membership.

Both NATO and the European Union have been reluctant to grant Ukraine membership because of Russia’s potential reaction and due to internal issues in the country, such as corruption.

NATO has still deferred offering Ukraine membership, though NATO states have offered significant assistance to Ukraine in the midst of their war with Russia.

The European Union made a significant announcement today as they offered Ukraine candidate status in the European Union.

President Zelensky called the move a “unique and historical moment” in the organization’s history.

The offer is a major first step towards membership status.  The European Union has not admitted a new state in almost ten years.

The Epoch Times Reports

European Union leaders agreed on June 23 to accept Ukraine as a candidate to join the European Union, although it’s not clear whether the eastern European country will become one.

Charles Michel, president of the European Council, confirmed that leaders had approved EU candidate status for not only Ukraine but also its neighbor, Moldova. The bloc hasn’t welcomed any new nations since Croatia in 2013.

EU candidate status doesn’t confer membership, which could be decades away, and it doesn’t mean that Ukraine is trying to join NATO—a separate, defense-oriented organization. However, Michel called the announcement a “historic moment” in light of the Russia–Ukraine conflict, which has raged since Feb. 24.

“Today marks a crucial step on your path towards the EU,” he wrote in a Twitter post that referenced Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The European Council has also decided “to recognize the European perspective of Georgia and is ready to grant candidate status once the outstanding priorities are addressed,” Michel continued on the social media site.

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