Ukraine could not set the EU membership as long as Russian troops remain on its territory, Frans Timmermans, a vice-president of the European Commission, told DW.
"But the whole idea is to make sure that Ukraine comes out of this conflict victorious, sovereign, independent, free, and has the opportunity to make this choice itself. And I think Ukraine is fighting to make this happen," Timmermans said.
European leaders granted Ukraine candidate status on June 23.
While busy defending Russia’s invasion, Ukraine must also fulfill reforms to the EU membership plan in order to make progress in the accession process.
According to a December Rating Group poll, 85% of Ukrainians believe the Ukrainian victory in the war with Russia requires the liberation of all territories. That includes Crimea and parts of eastern Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts occupied in 2014.