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Ukraine Deserves EU Candidate Status, Polish and Lithuanian Leaders Tell Zelenskiy

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The leaders of Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania on February 23 signed a joint declaration in Kyiv on February 23 saying Ukraine deserves to be granted candidate status for membership in the European Union.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the declaration sent an important signal to the people of Ukraine, and he thanked Polish President Andrzej Duda and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda for traveling to Kyiv to support Ukraine and sign the declaration.

Duda said the visit was a show of support in the face of the Russian threat, noting that Poland and Lithuania also share a border with Russia.

“Ukraine deserves to receive the status of a candidate country for the EU. Together with President Nauseda, we will do everything in our power to achieve this goal,” Duda said.

The declaration emphasized that Ukraine deserves the status “given the significant progress in the implementation of the Association Agreement and internal reforms, as well as the current security challenges.”

The joint declaration also calls on the international community to introduce “robust” sanctions on Russia, including measures targeting the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany.

At a joint news conference after the signing, Zelenskiy said Germany’s decision to suspend certification of Nord Stream 2 should become “final and irrevocable.”

A short time later, the EU announced plans to meet in Brussels for a special summit on February 24 to discuss Russia’s “aggressive actions” against Ukraine, European Council President Charles Michel said.

“It is important that we continue to be united and determined and jointly define our collective approach and actions,” Michel said in a letter to the bloc’s leaders.