Ukraine said it had formally applied for membership in the European Union as preliminary talks with Russia over the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict proved to be inconclusive.
Ukraine Applies for EU Membership
The Parliament of Ukraine tweeted on Monday that President Volodymyr Zelensky had signed the application for entry into the bloc, as fighting with Russian forces continued.
This is a historic moment! pic.twitter.com/rmzdgIwArc
— Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (@ua_parliament) February 28, 2022
Zelensky also said on Monday that he had a phone call with EU President Ursula von der Leyen discussing more aid, and Ukraine’s potential membership.
The move comes as early stage talks between Russia and Ukraine, hosted at the Belarus border, proved to be largely inconclusive. After speaking for five hours, both sides agreed to resume negotiations in Belarus in the near future after more counsel, Belarus’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Both parties also said they would issue a joint statement in the near future.
Interfax reported that Russian officials said the talks showed some potential to reach an agreement, but only time would tell.
It is important for the sides to hear one another and be ready in the very near future to look for the possibility of reaching a common denominator on these key issues
-Leonid Slutsky, Head of the Duma foreign affairs committee
Both parties had stated no preconditions for the talks. But Ukraine’s position was for an immediate ceasefire, and a complete withdrawal of Russian troops.
Ukraine tensions shine a spotlight on crypto?
Tensions over the invasion had battered crypto markets in February, wiping out as much as $200 billion of market capitalization.
But the conflict has also thrust crypto further into focus. Ukraine citizens were seen using crypto as the central bank suspended electronic cash payments. Trading volumes in both Russia and Ukraine also spiked as their respective currencies slumped.
Speculation over Russia’s adoption of crypto to avoid U.S. sanctions has been rife, given the country’s fairly strong holdings. The Ukraine government also called for major exchanges to ban Russian users.
News of the talks had spurred some optimism in financial markets, with major cryptocurrencies extending gains on hopes of a de-escalation. Bitcoin blew past a key $42,000 resistance level, while crypto market capitalization hovered just below the $2 trillion mark.