KYIV: Ukraine’s president on Friday appealed for his country not to be left in a “grey zone” with its EU membership bid, ahead of a summit set to decide on its candidacy.

“The first thing is to finally remove this grey zone,” Volodymyr Zelensky said, addressing the 2022 Copenhagen Democracy Summit by video-link.

“In the coming weeks, the European Union could take a historic step that will prove that the words on the membership of the Ukrainian people in the European family are not in vain,” he added.

The European Commission is expected to give its opinion on the issue in the coming days, before EU leaders decide whether to grant Ukraine official candidate status at a European Council summit on June 23-24.

Zelensky said he wondered why some member states were still hesitant about allowing Ukraine to join and cutting ties with Russia.

“Why, if the polls show that 71 percent of Europeans consider Ukraine as part of the European family, are there still political sceptics who hesitate to allow us to join the European Union?” he asked.

“The European system could lose if words are not accompanied by deeds,” Zelensky said.

The 27 are divided on the issue of Ukraine’s application to the alliance. While many countries, mainly in Eastern Europe, support Ukraine’s membership, some, such as the Netherlands and Denmark, are concerned that Ukraine is not ready.

If Ukraine is granted “candidate status,” it will launch a potentially decades-long process of negotiations and reforms that would be required before Ukraine could officially join the European Union.

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