Amid Russia's ongoing war against Kiev, Ukraine and the European Union (EU) have agreed to deepen bilateral relations and cooperation during a joint summit held here.
Following the 24th Ukraine-EU summit on Friday, a joint statement quoting President Volodymyr Zelensky, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was published by the Ukrainian presidential press service, reports Xinhua news agency.
According to the statement, Ukraine and the EU reiterated their commitment to further deepening their relationship and promoting Ukraine's further integration with the bloc.
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The parties also voiced their intention to fully exploit the potential of the Association Agreement, which entered into force on September 1, 2017, to establish conditions for enhanced economic and trade partnership.
Kiev and Brussels will cooperate in the implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area to ease Ukraine's access to the EU's internal market, the statement said.
Besides, the EU will consider Ukraine's request to extend the temporary preferential trade regime, which abolishes tariffs and quotas on Ukrainian industrial goods and foods, and will expire on June 5.
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The EU will support Zelensky's 10-point peace plan and the idea of a peace formula summit aiming at launching its implementation, the statement said.
Ukraine welcomes the EU's commitment to continue providing political and military support as long as it takes, which includes military assistance of more than 3.6 billion euros under the European Peace Facility, and the launch of the EU Military Assistance Mission to train an initial 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers in 2023.
In June 2022, EU leaders accepted Ukraine as a candidate for membership in the bloc.
In his video address to the nation on Friday night, Zelensky said asserted that there was a consensus between Ukraine and its partners in regards to the beginning of negotiations on Kiev's membership in 2023.
"We spoke and are speaking now as members of the European community. And we are working to have this recognised legally. There is an understanding that it is possible to start negotiations on Ukraine's membership in the EU this year.
"The partners also understand that this year, as last year, we have to continuously strengthen the defence support of our country and the pressure on Russia, in particular the sanctions pressure," he added.
In a series of tweets after the meeting, the European Council President Michel said: "The Ukrainian people have made a clear choice for freedom, democracy, and rule of law. And we in the EU have also made a clear decision.
"Your future is with us. Your destiny is our destiny. That's why we are here today. Standing by your side.
"The European Union will support you in every way we can. For as long as it takes. We are family."
Also taking to Twitter, von der Leyen said: "While Ukrainians are fighting to defend our common values, we support your economic security. To date, our EU support amounts to 50 billion euros. We are with you on this for the long haul.
"We must continue to deprive Russia of the means to wage war against Ukraine. EU's import ban on Russian petroleum products comes into force on Sunday.
"With the G7 we are putting price caps on these products, cutting Russia's revenue while ensuring stable global energy markets.
"Ukraine is a true inspiration for Europe. We will support your fast recovery and your reconstruction. And we will make Russia pay for the brutal destruction it is causing."