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Your Friday Briefing – The New York Times

Your Friday Briefing – The New York Times

The E.U. officially made Ukraine a candidate for membership yesterday, a step that even weeks ago seemed impossible. While it could take a decade or more for Ukraine to actually become a member, the E.U.’s decision sends a powerful message of solidarity to Kyiv and a rebuke to Moscow.

Candidate status signals that a nation may begin a painstaking, time-consuming process of internal changes and negotiations with the E.U., with a view to eventually joining. The country must align itself institutionally, democratically, economically and legally with E.U. laws and norms, a process that has taken some countries about 10 years. Others, like Turkey, have been candidates for much longer and have yet to join.

Ukraine’s candidacy is bound to irritate Russia, which has described Kyiv’s aspirations to align itself with institutions like NATO and the E.U. as Western attempts to interfere in its rightful sphere of influence. The move signals a belief on the part of E.U. states that Ukraine’s future lies in an embrace of the democratic West.

In other news from the war:

Villages across Paktika Province in Afghanistan’s southeast were devastated by the 5.9-magnitude earthquake that struck early Wednesday — the country’s deadliest in two decades.

As rescue efforts unfolded, vehicles laden with supplies made their way over rugged, unpaved roads to hillside villages strewn with wrecked houses. Relief officials said yesterday that they were now focusing on the survivors,…

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