The top of the EU is preparing for a summit with Zelensky in Kiev War news of Russia and Ukraine

Ukrainian and EU officials will hold talks in Kiev on Friday about the war-torn country’s efforts to join the bloc.

Senior European Union officials arrived in Kyiv ahead of talks with the Ukrainian government on the threatened nation’s efforts to join the bloc.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell were among those in the capital on Thursday, a day before the EU-Ukraine summit.

The gathering is the first of its kind to be held in Kyiv since Russia launched its invasion on February 24 last year.

EU countries offered political, economic and military support to Kiev throughout the war, and von der Leyen told reporters they planned to impose a new, 10th round of sanctions on Russia by the war’s anniversary.

The existing sanctions are “eroding” the Russian economy, von der Leyen said during a press conference together with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and “setting it back a generation.”

But despite the solidarity shown, Ukraine’s biggest wish to join the bloc is unlikely to be fulfilled anytime soon.

Following Ukraine’s recent crackdown on high-level corruption, EU leaders are set to dash Kiev’s hopes of swift membership by stressing the need for greater anti-corruption measures

Al Jazeera journalist Natacha Butler, reporting from Kiev, said that Ukraine “wants to be part of the European Union and turn to the West.”

“He says this is part of what he’s fighting [against Russia] for,” Butler said.

“However, the EU is likely to send a message that there is still a lot of work to be done in order for Ukraine to meet the criteria for full EU membership.”

The EU listed several requirements for Ukraine to join the bloc, from political and economic stability to the adoption of several of its own laws.

Kyiv was granted candidate status for membership in record speed last June, but full ascension could take a few more years, if not longer.

The last country to join the EU was Croatia in 2013, a decade after formal application. Ukraine’s neighbor Poland waited 20 years before becoming a member in 2004.

“Europe was united with Ukraine from the first day”

EU officials told the Reuters news agency that this week’s meetings will deal with more weapons and money for Ukraine, as well as greater access for Ukrainian products to the EU market and help Kiev cover its energy needs.

Sanctions against Russia, the prosecution of the Russian war leadership and the extension of the EU’s mobile roaming ban to Ukraine will also be discussed, the officials said.

The EU has already committed nearly 60 billion euros ($65 billion) in aid to Ukraine, including nearly 12 billion euros ($13.2 billion) in military aid and 18 billion euros ($19.8 billion) to help run the country this year.

Further bolstering Kiev’s response to the Russian offensive, the EU’s Borrell on Thursday announced a doubling of the number of Ukrainian troops the bloc will train to 30,000 this year. He also pledged 25 million euros ($27.5 million) for demining areas recaptured by Ukraine.

“Europe was united with Ukraine from day one. It will continue to be with you to win and rebuild,” Borrell wrote on Twitter.

The top EU officials for migration, agriculture, economy and justice were also in the capital of Ukraine.

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