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European Commission: No promise of Ukraine's fast accession to EU

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

The European Commission rejects to offer any promises of Ukraine's fast accession to the European Union as is hoped by the ex-Soviet republic.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen made the remarks alongside European Council President Charles Michel following a joint EU-Ukraine summit, in Kiev on Friday. 

She reminded Ukraine of the long list of criteria that it had to meet before becoming a member of the 27-nation bloc.

"There are no rigid timelines, but there are goals that you have to reach," von der Leyen told a news conference that was held after the summit.

The EU has conditioned Ukraine's accession to the latter's stemming widespread corruption, reforming its judiciary so it is free from political meddling, and strengthening its economy.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has stepped up his demands for his country's inclusion in the bloc since last February -- when Russia started a war against his country -- as means of ensuring further Western support for Kiev in the face of Moscow.

"We have an understanding that it will be possible for Ukraine to start EU accession negotiations this year," he said, speaking in a video address after the summit.

The sheer range of the conditions that are listed on the litany of the so-called reforms that are required by the bloc is, however, expected to cause the accession process to drag on for years.
Separately during the summit, Zelensky urged the EU for faster and improved arms deliveries in the face of the Russian military operation.

"Weapons [supplies]," he said, had to be "quickened, specifically long-range weapons."

Ever since the beginning of the war, Ukraine's Western allies, including the United States and the European Union, have been supplying large consignments of heavy weaponry to Kiev and slapping Russia with a slew of sanctions. 

Russia, which has not ruled out recourse to negotiation as a means of ending the war, has repeatedly asserted that pumping Ukraine full of Western arms would only prolong the conflict.

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