Few days back, the European Commission recommended that Ukraine, in a battle for life since February 24 after Russia invaded it, become a candidate for membership which will be discussed in Brussels this week by leaders of the 27-nation bloc.
The February 2022 invasion, a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War that began in 2014, caused Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II, with more than 7.7 million Ukrainians fleeing the country and a third of the population displaced.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the decision to recommend, saying the Ukrainians “are ready to die for the European perspective (and) we want them to live with us the European dream.”
The war has increased pressure on EU governments to fast-track Ukraine’s candidacy, but the process is expected to take years, and EU members remain divided over how to welcome new members. Ukraine’s application to join the EU came four days after Russian troops poured across its border
In another demonstration of Western support, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv to offer continued aid and military training.
The visit distinctly marked another setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who launched his war apparently in hopes he would be able to pull his former Soviet neighbor from the West and back into Russia’s sphere of influence.
We note that Johnson’s trip to Kyiv was followed by the leaders of Germany, France, Italy and Romania who pledged to support Ukraine without asking it to make any territorial concessions to Russia.
We understand the Western leaders are with Zelensky in giving him the “strategic endurance” needed by the war-battered country. Britain itself would lead a program that could train up to 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers every 120 days.
The Kremlin judiciously is closely following Ukraine’s bid to become a member of the United States-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization, especially in light of increased defense cooperation among the 27-member bloc.
Ukraine has been taking heavy casualties – although it has as well been inflicting heavy toll on the invaders – but the training program can well “change the equation” in the strung out war.
The EU recommendation certainly foreshadows a dramatic geopolitical shift following Russia’s invasion – a move that endorses the bravery of Ukrainians which had brought an opportunity for Europe to “create a new history of freedom, and finally remove the grey zone in Eastern Europe between the EU and Russia.”
One of Putin’s stated objectives in launching what Moscow calls a “special military operation” that has killed tens of thousands, made millions refugees, and destroyed cities was to halt the West’s eastward expansion via the NATO military alliance.
In the meanwhile, not seen perhaps on the military radar screens, people near and far the battle front, including the Philippines, are feeling the impact of the protracted war in, among other areas, the increasing pump prices.