Ukraine is set to officially launch membership talks with the European Union on Tuesday in what President Volodymyr Zelensky has described as a dream come true for his country’s citizens more than two years into a war with Russia.

Deputy prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration Olga Stefanishyna will lead Ukraine’s delegation at an intergovernmental conference in Luxembourg marking the official opening of talks to align the country’s laws and standards with those of the 27-nation bloc.

A few hours later, Moldova, which applied to join the EU after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and was granted candidate status four months later, will take part in a separate intergovernmental conference to officially launch its own accession process.

Ukraine, too, sought candidate status in the days after Russia invaded. By June 2022, EU leaders made it official. But things have moved more slowly since then and membership, if it comes, might be years away.

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