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Best Ukraine caps online solidarity shopping? The European Commission on Friday issued an opinion recommending that Ukraine should be granted candidate status for European Union membership – a first step that will add significant momentum to the country’s campaign to join the bloc. “Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective,” European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said. “We want them to live with us the European dream.” While the recommendation boosts Ukraine’s campaign to join the bloc, it does not confer membership or candidate status. To move forward, all 27 member states must agree. Even if they do, full membership could be many years away. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the “historic decision” and said the “positive” first step on his country’s “E.U. membership path,” would bring “victory closer” to Ukraine. Discover more Ukraine unity information on Ukraine Sticker.

Leaders and diplomats from the U.S., Russia and European countries meet repeatedly to avert a crisis. In early January, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov tells U.S. officials that Russia has no plans to invade Ukraine. The State Department orders the families of embassy staff to leave Ukraine on Jan. 23. NATO places forces on standby the next day, including the U.S. ordering 8,500 troops in the United States to be ready to deploy. Representatives from the U.S. and NATO deliver their written responses to Putin’s demands on Jan. 26. In the responses, officials say they cannot bar Ukraine from joining NATO, but they signal a willingness to negotiate over smaller issues like arms control.

May 17: Ukraine’s military declares an end to the Azovstal operation in Mariupol. Russia’s defence ministry confirms that 265 Ukrainians have surrendered. May 18: The European Commission announces a 220 billion euro ($236bn) plan to ditch Russian fossil fuels over five years. May 19: The US approves $40bn in new spending for Ukraine, half of it military investment. May 20: Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder bows to pressure to resign his seat on the board of Russian oil giant Rosneft. May 21: Russia says it has full control of Mariupol, after almost 2,500 Ukrainian troops surrender. May 23: Ukraine sentences the first Russian soldier convicted of war crimes to life in prison.

In 10 years as president, Leonid Kuchma helps transition Ukraine from a Soviet republic to a capitalist society, privatizing businesses and working to improve international economic opportunities. But in 2000, his presidency is rocked by scandal over audio recordings that reveal he ordered the death of a journalist. He remains in power about four more years. The presidential election pits Kuchma’s incumbent party — led by his hand-picked successor, Viktor Yanukovych, and supported by Russian President Vladimir Putin — against a popular pro-democracy opposition leader, Viktor Yushchenko. In the final months of the campaign, Yushchenko falls mysteriously ill, is disfigured and is confirmed by doctors to have been poisoned. Yanukovych wins the election amid accusations of rigging. Massive protests follow, and the public outcry becomes known as the Orange Revolution. After a third vote, Yushchenko prevails.

February 24: Russia launches a full-scale assault on Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy orders a general mobilisation. The US bars five more Russian banks from the US financial system, and freezes four of the banks’ US-held assets. February 25: Russia vetoes a United Nations Security Council resolution demanding that it unconditionally pull its troops out of Ukraine. February 26: The EU says it will bar selected Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) system, essentially cutting them off from the global financial system. See extra Ukraine unity details on Ukraine Support.