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Candidate status is just a first step in a bid for full membership, which could take years or decades. But the decision is a major step for Europe, and sends a signal to Russia.
On the ground, Russian forces have made further gains south of the eastern city of Lysychansk, Ukrainian authorities said Thursday, with defending forces reportedly repositioning to avoid being encircled. The fall of the settlements of Loskutivka and Rai-Oleksandrivka came on top of Russia’s seizure of the strategic village of Toshkivka earlier in the week. Much of Lysychansk’s battered twin city of Severodonetsk is already under Russian control as Moscow seeks to occupy the whole of Luhansk province.