BRUSSELS, March 2 (Xinhua) — Conflict should end before Ukraine’s application to join the European Union (EU) is discussed, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said here on Tuesday.

“Today, the European Union and Ukraine are already closer than ever before. There is still a long path ahead. We have to end this war. And we should talk about the next steps,” von der Leyen said when addressing the European Parliament plenary.Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday signed an official appeal for the EU, asking for an accession of Ukraine via a new special procedure.During the plenary on Tuesday, Zelensky, who was invited to make a speech from Kiev via video link, expressed his gratitude that the EU countries were unified in supporting Ukraine but regretted that it came after a high price was paid.

European Council President Charles Michel responded by pledging to look at the “symbolic, political and legitimate request” seriously, while admitting the process will be difficult.Members of the European Parliament on Tuesday adopted a resolution that called on the EU institutions to work toward granting Ukraine EU candidate status, and stated that such procedure should be in line with proper EU terms.The resolution was approved by 637 votes in favour, 13 against with 26 abstentions.