- Zelenskyy spoke about his country’s contribution to the EU
- Kaliningrad facing the Lithuanian blockade
- Ukrainian filmmaker from Mariupol freed by Russian forces
This was last updated at 00:50 UTC/GMT
Zelenskyy: Ukraine set to make ‘biggest contribution to Europe’s future for many years’
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his country’s membership of the European Union would be a gain for the economic bloc.
“Our rapprochement with the European Union is not only positive for us,” he said in his final video address. “This is the biggest contribution to the future of Europe for many years.”
Zelenskyy said the EU can only guarantee its power, independence and future development with Ukraine as a member.
“We are one step away from the start of full integration into the European Union,” the president told his country, adding that Ukrainian values were European values.
European integration would have a positive impact on Ukrainian citizens, he said. “The closer we are to other European countries, the more opportunities we will have to ensure a modern and safe life for all Ukrainians.”
His comments follow the European Commission’s decision on Friday to recommend that Ukraine and Moldova be granted EU candidate status.
At the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Friday, Putin said Moscow “has nothing against” Ukraine’s EU membership, because “it’s not a military organization, a political organization like NATO”.
The exchange between Macron and Zelenskyy becomes an Internet meme
An image showing a seemingly awkward exchange between French President Emmanuel Macron and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has quickly become a meme on social media in Ukraine and beyond.
While it looks like Macron is hugging Zelenskyy, he is actually whispering in his ear.
The defining moment came after a joint press conference with Zelenskyy and four European leaders, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Photo of Zelenskyy and Macron became a meme overnight
Kaliningrad facing the Lithuanian blockade
Anton Alikhanov, the regional governor of Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea, said the region faces a blockade by Lithuania due to Western sanctions.
Kaliningrad is home to Russia’s Baltic Fleet as well as nuclear-capable Iskander missiles.
Mariupol filmmaker freed by Russian forces
Yuliia Paievska, a famous Ukrainian doctor whose images were taken in Mariupol by a team from the Associated Press, has been released from Russian detention. His release comes three months after he was kidnapped from the streets of Mariupol.
In Ukraine, Paievska is known as Taira, an alias chosen based on the World of Warcraft video game. She used a body camera to record 256 gigabytes of her team’s work over two weeks trying to save the injured in Mariupol.
Among the wounded in his recordings were Russian and Ukrainian soldiers.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced his release in a national speech.
What happened during the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Friday?
The European Commission has recommended granting EU candidate status to Ukraine, marking the start of a likely long process towards joining the bloc.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made a second visit to Ukraine for talks with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and has pledged to train up to 10,000 Ukrainian troops in the UK.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has insisted German weapons will arrive in time to help Ukraine push back Russian forces in the eastern Donbass region.
Russian media published images of what they said were two American citizens captured while fighting for Ukraine. Family members said this week the pair had been missing in Ukraine for a week and said they feared they had been taken prisoner.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Russian economy had resisted Western sanctions. Putin accused the European Union of losing its “political sovereignty” and “printing money” in response to high inflation.
Ukraine has denounced the decision to withdraw its right to host the Eurovision Song Contest next year. Organizers cited security concerns.
You can review our Friday updates here.
ar, mm/jsi (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)