Ukraine is making swift progress on reforms needed to one day become a member of the EU, the president of the European Commission has said.
Ursula von der Leyen said she was “amazed” that Kyiv was able to overhaul laws in areas like corruption and money laundering while fighting the Russian invaders.
“I am amazed to see how Ukraine is doing very difficult reforms while they are fighting a war,” she said in New York, where the UN General Assembly is being held.
Mrs von der Leyen refused to set out a specific timeline for when Ukraine will be able to join the EU, which will not happen while the war rages on its territory.
But she added that she was convinced that Ukraine would one day join, despite the lengthy and technically difficult process of joining the bloc.
“If they keep the pace – and I see they’re absolutely motivated – this is a decisive moment,” she told Bloomberg Television.
Mrs von der Leyen has staked a large amount of political capital on her support for Ukraine after Putin’s illegal invasion in February last year.
The EU is under pressure to accelerate the process to allow Ukraine to join quickly.
However, the situation is complicated by other countries, particularly in the Western Balkans, who are ahead of Ukraine in the queue and have already been kept waiting for years.
Once Ukraine is a member state, the EU will be committed to hundreds of billions of euros in fundings.
EU governments have also warned there can be no shortcuts on the process to join the EU, which requires the absorption of Brussels’ rules on everything from human rights to central bank regulations.
Emmanuel Macron, the French president, has warned it could be a decade before Ukraine is ready to join the EU, which Ukraine wants to do in just two years.
Mrs von der Leyen also said she was confident that the EU would deliver on its promise to deliver one million rounds of ammunition to Ukraine in 12 months.
“We’re pushing the industry, the military industrial base, very strongly,” she said. “There’s a lot of focus on it. We do our best and we work hard to deliver.”
The EU has begun talks over a 12th package of sanctions against Moscow, which could include a ban on the purchase of diamonds from Russia.