Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is hosting European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for talks Thursday in Kyiv that von der Leyen said would include “getting our economies and people closer while Ukraine progresses towards accession.”
Ukraine applied to join the European Union in late February, days after Russia launched its invasion. The EU granted Ukraine candidacy status in June.
"In Kyiv, for my 3rd visit since the start of Russia's war. So much has changed. Ukraine is now an EU candidate," von der Leyen tweeted.
In Uzbekistan, the Ukraine conflict was on the agenda for talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Zelenskyy used part of his latest nightly address to criticize Russia cruise missile strikes on the Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih, which he said hit a reservoir dam with “no military value” that hundreds of thousands of civilians depend on.
The Ukrainian leader also said almost the entire Kharkiv region in northeastern Ukraine is “de-occupied” after Ukrainian forces took back large areas in a counteroffensive.
The gains included retaking the city of Izium where Zelenskyy traveled Wednesday to meet with soldiers and thank them for their efforts.
“Ukrainian forces continue to consolidate their control of newly liberated areas of Kharkiv Oblast,” Britain’s defense ministry said Thursday. “Russian forces have largely withdrawn from the area west of the Oskil River.”
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.