- The United States is providing Ukraine with another $450 million in military aid, including four High Mobility Rocket Artillery Systems (HIMARS).
- The 27 EU countries unanimously approved Ukraine’s application to become an EU candidate country.
- President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the EU’s decision was one of the most important since Ukraine’s independence.
- Ukraine said it would act swiftly and take the necessary steps to start accession negotiations.
Here are the latest updates:
U.S. provides Ukraine with advanced rocket systems and other aid
The U.S. will provide Ukraine with an additional $450 million in military aid, including some additional medium-range rocket systems, to help prevent Russia from making progress in the war, officials announced.
The latest package includes four High Mobility Rocket Artillery Systems, or HIMARS, which will double the number they now have. All four systems are pre-deployed in Europe, and the Ukrainian military has already started training on the systems, which they will use, said Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Anton Semelrose of the Marine Corps.
The first four HIMARS dispatched by the United States have been sent to the battlefield in Ukraine, and they have been handed over to the troops there.
The aid also includes 18 tactical vehicles used to tow howitzers so weapons can move around the battlefield, as well as 18 coastal and river patrol boats, thousands of machine guns, grenade launchers and ammunition, among other equipment, according to the Pentagon and spare parts.
– Secretary Anthony Blinken (@SecBlinken) June 23, 2022
Zelensky says no rest until EU membership
Zelensky has promised not to rest until Russia is defeated and Ukraine becomes a full member of the European Union.
“It’s a victory,” Zelensky said in a brief video posted on his Instagram channel, noting that Ukraine had waited 30 years for this moment.
“We can defeat the enemy, rebuild Ukraine, join the EU, and then we can rest,” he whispered.
“Or maybe we won’t rest at all – our kids will be pissed. But there’s no doubt we’ll win.”
Zelensky’s chief of staff Andriy Yermak said Kyiv would quickly implement the plans needed for accession talks.
We thank the 🇺🇦 people and military for showing the importance of European values. We are paying a high price. We are eager to become 🇪🇺 members.
Prepare for further necessary reforms. 🇺🇦🏻 🇪🇺
— AndriyYermak (@AndriyYermak) June 23, 2022
Ukraine, Moldova to reform quickly: EU’s Von der Leyen
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she was confident Ukraine and Moldova would move quickly to implement the necessary reforms.
“In these difficult times, the signs of hope couldn’t be better for the citizens of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia,” she told reporters on the sidelines of the EU summit in Brussels, both of which received EU candidate status. And added that they still have to do their homework.
“I am convinced that the decision we took today strengthens all of us. It strengthens Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia in the face of Russian aggression,” she said.
“It strengthens the EU because it shows the world once again that the EU is united and strong in the face of external threats.”
Moldovan president says EU decision on candidacy a historic day
Moldovan President Maya Sandu said the EU’s move to grant her country’s candidacy was a historic day, adding: “The road ahead of us is difficult and requires a lot of work and effort”.
In a Facebook post, she said EU membership would bring more benefits, more opportunities and more order to the small country sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania.
Zelensky thanks EU for candidacy approval
The victorious Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the EU for granting Ukraine candidacy, saying it was the beginning of a new history in Europe.
In a video address, Zelensky singled out and thanked each country in the EU, saying they had made “one of the most important decisions in Ukraine’s 30 years of independence.”
“I have always said that we Ukrainians believe in the EU. Even though we are officially outside the EU, our country probably has the most unified European flag,” he said.
“During the revolution, they were in the hands of our people. They have been in the hands of our people in the trenches since 2014. I am sure that the flag of the EU will be in every Ukrainian city that we have not yet liberated from the Russian Federation. ,” Zelensky added.
Heartfelt tribute to EU leaders #EUCO 🇺🇦Candidate status granted. This is a unique historical moment in a 🇺🇦-🇪🇺 relationship.grateful @CharlesMichelle, @von der Leyen and EU leaders. Ukraine’s future lies within the EU. #hug ukraine https://t.co/o6dJVmTQrn
– Volodymyr Zelenskyy (@ZelenskyyUa) June 23, 2022
Read all updates for June 23rd here.