In a massive development, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky revealed that the leaders of Albania, Montenegro and North Macedonia have officially stated their support of Ukraine's European Union (EU) candidate status.
The announcement was made by the President after his meeting with the three leaders on Wednesday, reported Ukrayinska Pravda.
While Zelensky met Prime Ministers of Albania and Montenegro Edi Rama and Dritan Abazovic, respectively, in Kyiv, North Macedonia's premier Dimitar Kovacevski joined the meeting virtually.
"I am grateful to Rama, I am grateful to Abazovic, Kovacevski for a joint statement today in support of granting Ukraine candidate status," Ukrayinska Pravda quoted Zelensky as saying.
"Our states must become full members of the European Union, and we agree that our states are not competitors on this European path. We complement and strengthen each other's capabilities," he added.
EU to finalise Ukraine's candidate status by the end of this week
Wednesday's development came after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had said that the EU will finalise the assessment on granting Ukraine's candidate status by the end of this week.
Addressing the media in Kyiv on June 11, she said that the "European Commission is currently preparing its recommendations -- the so-called conclusion for EU member states. We have been working on this assessment day and night".
Zelensky applied for EU membership
On February 28, Zelensky signed an official appeal to the EU asking for the accession of Ukraine through a new special procedure.
The European Commission President gave the EU membership questionnaire to the Ukrainian President during her visit to Kiev in April.
The first part of the document was submitted to the EU on April 18, while the second was delivered on May 9.
However, observers say even with candidate status, it may take years, if not decades, for Ukraine to obtain EU membership.