Zelensky urged the EU to allow the former Soviet republic to immediately join the bloc, saying that membership would put Ukrainians on “an equal footing” with other members.
“I’m sure it’s fair,” he said. “I’m sure it’s possible.”
Zelensky’s social media accounts posted a photo of the signing on the Ukrainian parliament’s Twitter account. The move to sign the application was made on the fifth day of the Russia–Ukraine conflict, as delegations from both countries met at a location near the Belarusian border.
“We appeal to the European Union to urgently admit Ukraine using a new procedure,” he said in a video message posted earlier on Feb. 28. “We are grateful to partners for standing with us. But our goal is to be with all Europeans and to be equal to them. I am sure we deserve it. I am sure it is possible.”
Zelensky said he spoke with the presidents of Portugal, Lithuania, France, and Poland as well as the prime ministers of the UK, Belgium, and Spain on Feb. 27.
“Support of our anti-war coalition is unconditional and unprecedented,” he said.
At this stage, Ukraine is many years away from reaching the standards for achieving EU membership, and the 27-nation bloc is expansion-weary and unlikely to take on new members any time soon. Also, any addition to the EU must be approved unanimously, and some member states have complicated approval procedures.
On Feb. 28, a top adviser to Ukraine’s president said the first round of talks with Russia had ended and that both delegations had returned home for consultations in their capitals.
The negotiations on Feb. 28 were the first face-to-face talks between Ukrainian and Russian officials since the war began. The delegations met at a long table, with the blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flag on one side and the Russian tricolor flag on the other.
Zelensky’s office previously said it would demand an immediate cease-fire and the withdrawal of Russian troops. Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told CNBC in an interview that the Kyiv government is “not ready to surrender or capitulate” to Moscow.
It wasn’t immediately clear what Putin is seeking in the talks or from the invasion itself, although Western officials believe he wants to overthrow Ukraine’s government and replace it with a regime of his own, reviving Moscow’s Cold War-era influence. There have been reports suggesting that Russian forces are trying to hunt down and either capture or kill Zelensky, whose whereabouts aren’t known.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.