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Kyiv: European Union leaders will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Friday, bringing the promise of new sanctions against Russia but likely dashing Ukraine's hope for swift EU membership. 

The head of the group's executive commission, Ursula von der Leyen, arrived in Kyiv by train on Thursday, a symbolic journey to demonstrate support for Ukraine as the first anniversary of Russia's Feb. 24, 2022, invasion of its neighbour approaches. 

Senior members of the EU's executive met their counterparts in the Ukrainian government, and von der Leyen and the chairman of the 27 EU national leaders, Charles Michel, will convene talks with Zelenskiy on



Friday.

Zelenskiy called for more punitive measures against Russia by the European Union, but new sanctions the bloc is preparing for the anniversary are set to fall short of his government's demands. While the EU backs Ukraine and supports democratic and economic reforms there it declines to offer a fast track to membership while Ukraine is at war.

EU officials have listed multiple entry requirements, from political and economic stability to adopting various EU laws. The process is likely to take years. The last country to have joined the EU was Croatia in 2013, a decade after formally applying. Ukraine's neighbour Poland took 20 years until joining in 2004. 



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