Kyiv is hoping for more concrete accession prospects from an EU-Ukraine summit on Friday.

"I believe that Ukraine deserves to start negotiations on EU membership already this year," said Zelenskyy in his evening address on Thursday.

Further integration into the European Union would give Ukrainians "energy and motivation to fight in spite of all obstacles and threats".

Another topic at Friday's summit, which is being held under tight security, is additional European support in the war against Russia.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who has been in Kyiv since Thursday, has already announced further financial, military and humanitarian aid.

150 million euros are to be made available for the reconstruction of the energy infrastructure destroyed by Russia.

A new package of sanctions against Russia is to be decided by the first anniversary of the start of the war on February 24.

Ukraine has had candidate country status since June.

It usually takes many years to become a member.

However, the 27 EU states have agreed that promises of reform must first be kept.

Among other things, this involves the selection process for constitutional judges and the fight against corruption – especially at a high level.

The EU is also demanding that standards in the fight against money laundering be observed and that a law against the excessive influence of oligarchs be implemented.

Ukraine needs over 15 billion euros for reconstruction in 2023

Ukraine has also requested specific funding from the European Union for the ongoing reconstruction of the destroyed infrastructure.

"This year, the need is 17 billion US dollars (around 15.6 billion euros)," said Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal.

Above all, the Russian funds frozen in the course of the sanctions against Moscow should be used for this.

According to a report by the Ukrinform agency, Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov once again called for longer-range missiles for his country.

Ukraine is also ready to guarantee that no attacks on Russian territory will be carried out.

The war has now lasted more than eleven months.

Putin threatens Germany

80 years after the Red Army defeated the Wehrmacht in the Battle of Stalingrad, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin has accused Germany of now allowing itself to be drawn into a war with Russia.

"It's unbelievable, but it's a fact: we're being threatened again with the German Leopard tank," Putin said at a ceremony in Volgograd (formerly: Stalingrad).

The Wehrmacht did not have any tanks with the type designation Leopard in their inventory.

As in the Second World War, German weapons are being used to fight against Russia on Ukrainian soil, the Kremlin chief said.

Germany emphasizes that, despite the military aid to Ukraine, it is not or does not want to become a war party.

Russia will defend itself this time too, Putin said, referring to the war against Ukraine, which he himself ordered: "We have something with which to respond.

And the matter does not end with the use of armored vehicles.

Everyone should understand that,” said the president of the nuclear power.

Critics repeatedly accuse Putin of using the commemoration days, which are important for many Russians, to commemorate the victory over Hitler's Germany in World War II for propaganda purposes.