As Russian forces were approaching Kyiv, the European Union was making progress Tuesday on an extraordinary effort to hasten Ukraine’s application for membership. The unprecedented show of support followed an emotional speech to the EU by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is emerging as a leader on behalf of democracy around the world. “We are fighting to be equal members of Europe,” said Zelenskyy, as his translator relayed the message through tears. “Do prove that you are with us. Do prove that you will not let us go. Do prove that you are indeed Europeans, and then life will win over death and light will win over darkness.” “The EU will be much stronger with us,” he said.
The endorsement by presidents of eight member states to immediately make Ukraine a candidate for EU membership is proof that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion appears to be strengthening Western alliances, says Mai’a Cross, the Edward W. Brooke Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at Northeastern. “Putin has created a much stronger EU,” says Cross. “This was actually predictable.