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EU President on Ukraine: ‘They Belong to Us… We Want Them In’

( Breitbart )

The President of the European Commission has said that Ukraine belong to the European Union and that, “over time”, the bloc “want[s] them in.”

“We have a process with Ukraine that is, for example, integrating the Ukrainian market into the Single Market; we have very close cooperation on the energy grid, for example,” said President Ursula von der Leyen, who previously served as a controversial defence minister in the government of Germany’s Angela Merkel, in comments to the EU-funded Euronews organisation.

“So [there are] many topics where we work very closely together and indeed over time, they belong to us. They are one of us and we want them in,” she added.

The European Union efforts to draw Ukraine into its orbit were a key source of tension between Russia and the West ahead of the Euromaidan coup against former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.

Yanukovych, who had looked to the eastern part of Ukraine which became home to a large pro-Russia separatist movement in the wake of the Maidan, was toppled after rejecting a European Union Association Agreement in favour of a Russian deal which proved unpopular in the country’s west.

While the Euromaidan was initially viewed as something of a triumph by the EU, whose then-High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Baroness Catherine ‘Cathy’ Ashton, had attended the demonstrations in Kyiv (Kiev), the bloc was left flatfooted when Russia not only refused to accept the Maidan government but annexed the Crimea, where the regional government also rejected the new order, and backed a separatist uprising in the Donbas — an outcome which arguably precipitated the wider war Ukraine is now embroiled in.

Ukraine’s current leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, has for his part called on Brussels to grant his country full EU membership in response to the current crisis.

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