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Volodymyr Zelenskyy invites Micheál Martin to visit Ukraine

European leaders are due to discuss the application to grant Ukraine EU candidacy status this week.

Image: PA

UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR Zelenskyy has invited Taoiseach Micheál Martin to visit Ukraine.

The two leaders spoke ahead of a European Council meeting on Thursday and Friday where EU leaders are due to discuss the European Commission’s recommendation to grant Ukraine candidacy status.

Martin said he was “delighted” to speak with Zelenskyy and confirm Ireland’s support for Ukraine’s EU membership.

“We are, and will be, with Ukraine every step of the way,” he said.

The Taoiseach has advocated for fast-tracked membership of the EU for Ukraine and has used Ireland as an example of how a country can develop through EU membership.

Zelenskyy thanked Ireland for its “active support of Ukraine’s European aspirations” and the status of a candidate for EU membership.

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He added that he invited Martin “to make the first visit to Ukraine in the history of bilateral relations.”

Zelenskyy has spoken to several EU leaders today ahead of the summit – including Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who he also invited to visit Ukraine. 

Ukraine is in the early stages of applying to join the EU after requesting to apply for membership a week after Russia invaded the country.

The European Commission delivered its proposal to award Ukraine candidate status after a fast-tracked analysis of answers to an EU-membership questionnaire.

Despite the European Commission’s endorsement, it is likely to take years or even decades to lead to EU membership for Ukraine.

Martin said previously that the process to apply to join the EU is “complex and challenging”.

“It requires considerable work on the part of the country looking to join.

“Ireland is ready to walk every step of that journey with Ukraine, providing whatever support and encouragement we can along the way.”

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