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EU-Ukraine summit to deliver on some issues, disappoints on others

Ukraine's hopes for swift membership to the EU will have to wait

EU-Ukraine summit European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen with the Ambassador of the EU to Ukraine, Matti Maasikas, as they arrive to attend the EU-Ukraine summit in Kyiv | AP

Bringing the promise of new sanctions against Russia, European Union leaders will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Friday. While it pins hopes on some key issues for Ukraine, it dashes the country's hopes for swift EU membership.

To demonstrate support for Ukraine, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, arrived in Kyiv on Thursday.

According to reports, senior members of the EU's executive met their counterparts in the Ukrainian government. Von der Leyen and chairman of the 27 EU national leaders, Charles Michel will convene talks with Zelenskiy on Friday.

After the Thursday talks, Zelenskiy said that "We have reached a very important mutual understanding.”

"Only together- a strong Ukraine and a strong European Union-can we defend the life that we value, and through our further integration, provide energy and motivation for our people to fight on regardless of obstacles and threats," Zelensky was quoted by Reuters.

Though EU has extended its support to Ukraine in various ways, it declined to offer a fast track membership while the country is at war. With the multiple entry requirements slated by the EU, it would take years for to get the membership.

"Some may want to speculate about the end game but the simple truth is that we are not there yet," an EU official said reported Reuters.

In 2013, Croatia was the last country to have joined the EU. It took almost 20 years for Poland to join the EU in 2004.

Supply of more arms, money, more access for its products in the EU market were included in the Thursday talks. Discussions on helping Kyiv regarding energy needs were also held.

The German government has approved the delivery of Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine from industrial stocks and is in talks on purchasing back 15 Gepard tanks from Qatar to send there, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported.

The EU has also demanded more anti-corruption measures from Ukraine. Earlier, Zelenskiy has announced that this year there would be investigations and dismissals of some officials pointedly saying that the defence ministry needs to be clean.

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