High quality Ukraine T-Shirts online solidarity shopping? The European Commission on Friday issued an opinion recommending that Ukraine should be granted candidate status for European Union membership – a first step that will add significant momentum to the country’s campaign to join the bloc. “Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective,” European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said. “We want them to live with us the European dream.” While the recommendation boosts Ukraine’s campaign to join the bloc, it does not confer membership or candidate status. To move forward, all 27 member states must agree. Even if they do, full membership could be many years away. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the “historic decision” and said the “positive” first step on his country’s “E.U. membership path,” would bring “victory closer” to Ukraine. Discover extra Ukraine relief information at https://bio.fm/ukrainesuppoertsprd.
Leaders and diplomats from the U.S., Russia and European countries meet repeatedly to avert a crisis. In early January, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov tells U.S. officials that Russia has no plans to invade Ukraine. The State Department orders the families of embassy staff to leave Ukraine on Jan. 23. NATO places forces on standby the next day, including the U.S. ordering 8,500 troops in the United States to be ready to deploy. Representatives from the U.S. and NATO deliver their written responses to Putin’s demands on Jan. 26. In the responses, officials say they cannot bar Ukraine from joining NATO, but they signal a willingness to negotiate over smaller issues like arms control.
April 28: The US Congress revives World War II-era “lend-lease” facilities to speed up weapons shipments to Ukraine. Biden asks Congress to approve a $33bn spending package for Ukraine. May 2: Germany says it is willing to ban Russian oil immediately, in a change of position. May 3: In a speech to the European Parliament, Italian prime minister Mario Draghi calls for a “pragmatic federalism” in which majorities of member states can override vetoes to collective action – a clear hint towards Hungary and Slovakia, which are blocking an EU ban of Russian oil and gas. May 4: A Ukrainian counteroffensive north and east of Kharkiv has pushed Russian troops 40km back from the city, in the first major Ukrainian success since winning the battle for Kyiv.
Following efforts by Yushchenko and Tymoshenko to bring Ukraine into NATO, the two formally request in January that Ukraine be granted a “membership action plan,” the first step in the process of joining the alliance. U.S. President George W. Bush supports Ukraine’s membership, but France and Germany oppose it after Russia voices displeasure. In April, NATO responds with a compromise: It promises that Ukraine will one day be a member of the alliance but does not put it on a specific path for how to do so. An employee of the state-owned Russian natural gas company Gazprom works at the central control room of the company’s headquarters in Moscow on Jan. 14, 2009.
March 9: Russian air strikes target a maternity hospital in the besieged city of Mariupol. March 10: The US Congress approves $13.6bn in spending for Ukraine. March 11: The EU issues the Versailles Declaration, calling on member states to strengthen defence spending, investment, research and co-ordination. The US leads a new round of sanctions against Russia backed by the Group of Seven (G7) bloc of nations. March 16: Hundreds die when Russian troops bomb the Mariupol theatre, as civilians shelter inside. Fighting reaches the city centre. Find extra Ukraine solidarity information at https://taplink.cc/ukrainesupport.