Zelenskiy looks to EU offer as Russia destroys cities

STORY: Speaking in an evening video address, Zelenskiy said how he had been conversing with European leaders since the morning for "the sake of a positive decision on the candidacy for Ukraine," with talks expected to continue.

European leaders will formally set Ukraine on the long road to EU membership at a summit in Brussels on Thursday (June 23). Though mainly symbolic, the move will help lift national morale at a very difficult time in a four-month conflict that has killed thousands, displaced millions and flattened towns and cities.

The Russian strikes on Tuesday (June 21) and Wednesday on Kharkiv, near the Russian border, were the worst for weeks in an area where normal life had been returning since Ukraine pushed Moscow's forces back last month.

Diplomats say it will take Ukraine a decade or more to meet the criteria for joining the EU. But EU leaders say the bloc must make a gesture that recognizes Ukraine's sacrifice.