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Draft decision of EU summit says 'Ukraine belongs to European family,' but matter does not go further.

The draft summit conclusions of the leaders of the European Union, which will be held in Versailles (France) on March 10 and 11, in relation to the European perspective, states that "Ukraine belongs to the European family," but the status of the candidate is not spelled out.

This follows from the draft conclusions available to Interfax-Ukraine. "Following the December 2016 decision by the EU Heads of State or Government, the European Council acknowledged the European aspirations and the European choice of Ukraine, as stated in the Association Agreement. On 28 February 2022, exercising the right of Ukraine to choose its own destiny, the President of Ukraine submitted the application of Ukraine to become a member of the European Union. The Council has acted swiftly and invited the Commission to submit an opinion on this application. Pending this and without delay, we will further strengthen our bonds and deepen our partnership. Ukraine belongs to our European family," according to the draft conclusions.

The European Union said in the draft document that "two weeks ago Russia brought war back to Europe. Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine grossly violates international law and the principles of the UN Charter and undermines European and global security and stability. It is inflicting unspeakable suffering on the Ukrainian population. Russia bears, and its accomplice Belarus, bear full responsibility for this war of aggression and those responsible will be held to account for this war of aggression their crimes, including for indiscriminately targeting civilians and civilian objects," according to the draft conclusions.

In this regard, EU leaders are expected to welcome the decision of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to open an investigation. "We call for the safety and security of Ukraineєs nuclear facilities to be ensured immediately with the assistance of the International Atomic Energy Agency. We demand that Russia ceases its military action and withdraws all forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine immediately and unconditionally, and fully respects Ukraine's territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognized borders," the draft conclusions read.

In addition, the draft says that EU leaders commend the people of Ukraine for their courage in defending their country and our shared values of freedom and democracy. "We will not leave them alone. The EU and its Member States will continue to provide coordinated political, financial, material and humanitarian support. We are committed to provide support for the reconstruction of a democratic Ukraine once the Russian onslaught has ceased. We are determined to increase even further our pressure on Russia and Belarus. We will ensure that the sanctions we have adopted are fully implemented. And remain ready to move quickly with further sanctions as needed."

It is expected that the position of the leaders regarding refugees will also be spelled out. "We offer temporary protection to all war refugees from Ukraine. We commend European countries, notably at the borders with Ukraine, for showing immense solidarity in hosting Ukrainian war refugees. The EU and its Member States will continue to show solidarity and provide humanitarian, medical and financial support to all refugees and the countries hosting them," the draft conclusions say.

In this regard, leaders are expected to call for funds to be made available without delay through a swift adoption of the proposal on Cohesion’s Action for Refugees in Europe (CARE) and through ReactEU. " We call on Russia to fully abide by its obligations under international humanitarian law. It must ensure safe and unhindered humanitarian access to the victims and internally displaced persons in Ukraine, and allow safe passage for those civilians who want to leave," the EU said in the draft conclusions.

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