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Ukraine Completes EU Membership Questionnaire But It Is A Symbolic Move

By: News Desk

News18.com

Last Updated: April 18, 2022, 11:15 IST

Two women unfold the Ukrainian flag during an art installation by French contemporary artist JR unveiling a giant photograph of a young Ukrainian refugee, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Venice, Italy (Image: Reuters)

Two women unfold the Ukrainian flag during an art installation by French contemporary artist JR unveiling a giant photograph of a young Ukrainian refugee, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Venice, Italy (Image: Reuters)

Zelensky wants to send a message to Moscow that despite the ongoing war he is adamant that Kyiv will look westwards and not towards Kremlin

Ukraine could be following Serbia’s footsteps as it submitted its completed questionnaire to the European Union (EU) on Sunday. Serbia is also a candidate for EU membership and does not desire to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Ukraine, facing an aggressive Russia, has also retracted from the demand of joining NATO and has focused on larger integration with western Europe by trying to join the EU.

Ihor Zhovkva, deputy head of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s office, said that Ukraine seeks to be a candidate country for EU accession in June and will expect the EU to speed-up the process of Ukraine’s full integration into the EU. Ukraine, during its independence in 1991, adopted a non-nuclear and non-bloc status and also said that it would be a non-aligned and neutral state but the US in a bid to check Russia’s ascension toyed with Ukraine’s aspirations and lured them with the NATO promise thus increasing the divide between Moscow and Kyiv.

With the war in Ukraine, the Ukrainian political establishment is now understanding that it is caught in a bind. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky - pushed by the limited success that Ukrainian forces have achieved - is unready to surrender and vows to fight till the last man but is wary of joining NATO.

There is one difference here - Serbia acts as a Russian ally while Ukraine is at war with Russia. Zelensky losing territory to Russia would be humiliating for Ukrainians. The similarity lies in the fact that Ukraine like Serbia will become a liability for the European Union.

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Serbia, while being an EU candidate nation, agreed to align its foreign and security policy with that of the union but needs Russia on its side for diplomatic support on Kosovo - which it does not recognise as independent.

By joining the EU and by not joining NATO, Ukraine could still be a part of the European security architecture, which means that it could take help from the West to foment insurgency in Crimea, Donbas and other regions in the southeastern Ukraine which with each passing day looks to fall to the Russian army. This risks prolonging the war on Ukraine but Ukraine needs the EU to also fund its restoration which is unlikely in the event of Moscow unseating Zelensky in Kyiv and then installing a puppet government. Moscow is struggling due to sanctions and reparations in Ukraine is a task it cannot undertake.

Zelensky requires the funds, the support and the arms to keep Russia at bay. The EU candidate country status will be largely symbolic. Zelensky’s bid to join the EU is a message to Putin that he is setting Ukraine to look west and abandon Russia.

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first published:April 18, 2022, 11:15 IST
last updated:April 18, 2022, 11:15 IST