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German foreign minister backs full EU membership for Ukraine on visit to Kyiv

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German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Tuesday Ukraine should become a full member of the European Union at some point though there could be no shortcut to membership.

Speaking alongside her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, Baerbock stressed that Germany would reduce its imports of Russian energy to zero, “and that will stay that way forever.”

Meanwhile, Kuleba said Kyiv was grateful to Berlin for changing its position toward Moscow, including its stance on a Russian oil embargo and on supplying arms to Ukraine.

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“I would like to thank Germany for changing its position on a number of issues,” Dmytro Kuleba said.

“Germany has changed its position on arms supplies to Ukraine, and Chancellor [Olaf] Scholz has announced the beginning of a new policy toward Russia,” he said.

Kuleba said Kyiv was “grateful to Germany for supporting the introduction of the oil embargo,” against Russia.

An embargo on Russian oil, part of a sixth package of EU sanctions under discussion, is being resisted by some EU member states that rely on Russian oil to keep their economies running.

“We understand that this was a difficult decision for Germany,” Kuleba said.

He also said that Ukraine’s aspiration to join the European Union was “a matter of war and peace in Europe.”

The European Commission has said it will respond to Ukraine’s requests to join next month.

“One of the reasons why this war started is that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin was convinced that Europe doesn’t need Ukraine,” Kuleba said.

Baerbock and her Dutch counterpart Wopke Hoekstra visited war-torn areas around Kyiv as part of a surprise trip to Ukraine.

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