Asked at a news conference with Zelensky about Kyiv’s membership bid, the commission’s von der Leyen said: “There are no hard deadlines, but there are goals you have to reach.”
European Union countries agreed on Friday to a commission proposal to set price caps on Russian oil products from Sunday, in a bid to limit Moscow’s ability to fund the war. Diplomats said these include a $100 cap on premium oil products such as diesel and a cap of $45 per barrel on subsidized products such as fuel oil.
A similar price cap on crude oil was implemented in December.
The Kremlin said the plan would unbalance global energy markets but Moscow was working to minimize its impact. Russia will cap its daily sales of foreign currency to about 8.9 billion rubles ($130 million) a day over the next month to compensate for lower oil and gas revenue.
Russia’s monthly budget revenue from oil and gas fell to its lowest level since August 2020 under the influence of Western sanctions, Finance Ministry data showed.
The German government said it has approved the delivery of Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine from its stock. The tanks could be delivered sooner than the upgraded Leopard 2s that Germany and other countries pledged last week.
Ukraine’s defense minister, Oleksiy Reznikov, said the new tanks being supplied by NATO countries would act as an “iron fist” to break through Russian lines.
Russia is increasing pressure on Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine, where Kyiv says Moscow is sending thousands of soldiers and mercenaries to their deaths for little profit.
“They bring in men from their draft and systematically try to find places,” Serhiy Cherevaty, a spokesman for the Eastern Front of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, told Ukrainian Radio NV.
Moscow says a key objective in Ukraine is to secure the rest of Donetsk province, one of four it claimed to have unilaterally annexed last year. Its forces have claimed incremental gains in the past week around Bakhmut.
A Belarusian volunteer fighting for Ukraine inside the city said there was no indication yet that Ukrainian forces were planning to pull out. “At the moment it is the opposite, consolidating the position where the Russians are trying to cut us off… We are holding out for now.”
Reuters could not independently verify accounts from the battlefield.