Zelenskyy encouraged in Ukraine's bid for EU membership

European Union leaders have already accepted Ukraine's candidacy to become a member of their group. On Wednesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that they recommend starting more detailed discussions.

Von der Leyen met with others on the EU's executive branch in Brussels and said Ukrainian officials have completed well over 90 percent of the "necessary steps." She and other EU leaders had insisted last year on measures to address corruption and reform the justice system. They want Ukrainian leaders to limit the power of oligarchs and protect the rights of minorities.

The EU leaders say that membership talks will start once those conditions are met.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed the news. He said his people deserve to be in the EU both for their "defense of European values" and for keeping their word "even in times of full-scale war." He added that he expects to hear a decision from the EU leaders when they meet next month.

The EU also announced its recommendation on membership for Moldova, which neighbors Ukraine.