As Russia's international isolation deepened Monday, Ukraine's president took a big step toward the West with a formal application to join the European Union. "The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky has just signed a historical document—Ukraine’s application for European Union membership," Andriy Sybiha, deputy head of the president's office said in a tweet, per the Hill. "Glory to Ukraine," added Sybiha, who shared photos of Zelensky signing the documents with the country's prime minister and head of parliament. EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said Sunday that the bloc wants Ukraine to join "over time," though she didn't set out a timeline.
The move was seen as largely symbolic, the AP reports. Ukraine is currently a long way from meeting the usual economic standards for joining the EU and it's far from clear whether its membership bid will get the required unanimous approval from all 27 member nations. In a video broadcast from Kyiv Monday, Zelensky appealed to the EU "for Ukraine’s immediate accession under a new special procedure," the New York Times reports. "Our goal is to stand alongside all Europeans and, most importantly, to stand on their level," the president said. Zelensky also praised the EU countries that have supplied the country with arms in the days since the Russian invasion. (Read more Russia-Ukraine war stories.)