Ukraine should be given EU membership prospects, says Polish PM

Radek Pietruszka/PAP

Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, argued on a special EU summit in Versailles near Paris that Ukraine should be offered more support and a clear path of EU accession.

The first day of the summit ended inconclusively in the early hours on Friday as EU leaders ruled out Ukraine's fast-track integration with the bloc which Kyiv has called for.

However, Morawiecki said the EU leaders seriously consider accepting Ukraine to the bloc in the future.

"After a few hours of good and vigorous debate it became clear to all that we all want to see Ukraine in the European Union," the Polish prime minister said on Friday morning.

"The provisions of the declaration we have accepted clearly show that we all agree that Ukraine should join the EU," the prime minister said. "Another important sentence in the declaration is that we want to support Ukraine in its efforts to join our Europe."

Eastern EU members, including Poland, would like to integrate the country into the EU at a faster pace than some western members, notably the Netherlands, according to Morawiecki.

Piotr Mueller, the government spokesman, said on Twitter early on Friday that "Prime Minister Morawiecki advocated for the continuation of support to Ukraine and working out a clear path for its membership of the EU."

In a statement, EU leaders condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine, calling it "unprovoked and unjustified".

The leaders also said that "the EU and its Member States will continue to provide coordinated political, financial, material and humanitarian support," pledging to help Kyiv reconstruct the country when the hostilities are over.

The heads of the EU countries added they were ready to "increase even further our pressure on Russia and Belarus" and to channel relief funds to countries bordering Ukraine, including Poland, that have taken in most Ukrainian refugees.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, attacking its neighbour from three sides with overwhelming military forces, with tacit support from Minsk, which included the hosting of Russian invasion troops on Belarusian territory.

What was likely planned to be a swift military operation aimed to topple the government has turned into a more prolonged conflict, with thousands of casualties on both sides and the number of refugees exceeding two million, most of them heading towards the Polish border.