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Doubts over whether all EU nations support Ukraine joining the bloc

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By Chris Harris and AFP
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen   -   Copyright  Credit: AP/Ukrainian Presidential Press Office

Less than a day after Ursula von der Leyen said she wanted Ukraine in the EU, the reality of whether and how quickly that might happen is beginning to bite.

Charles Michel, president of the European Council, said there were "different opinions and sensitivities" among EU members on Kyiv's accession.

"Membership is a long-standing request from Ukraine," said Michel. "But there are different opinions and sensitivities within the EU on enlargement.

"Ukraine will submit an official request, the European Commission will have to express an official opinion and the Council will decide."

Michel indicated he had been informed of Ukraine's intention to send an official application for membership and explained the procedure to be followed.

He announced his intention to invite Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy to participate "on a regular basis" in the summits of European leaders and insisted on the need to strengthen the association agreement concluded between Ukraine and the EU.

It came after Zelenskyy on Monday repeated his desire to join the EU "without delay".

"I'm sure it's right. I'm sure it's possible," Zelenskyy said.

On Sunday, von der Leyen told Euronews: "We have a process with Ukraine that is, for example, integrating the Ukrainian market into the single market.

"We have very close cooperation on the energy grid, for example.

"So many topics where we work very closely together and indeed over time, they belong to us. They are one of us and we want them in."