The EU gave its blessing on Friday for Ukraine and its neighbour Moldova to become candidates to join the bloc, reaching out deep into the former Soviet Union for what would be a major geopolitical shift resulting from Russia’s invasion. “Ukrainians are ready to die for the European perspective,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference, wearing Ukrainian colours: a yellow blazer over a blue blouse. “We want them to live with us the European dream.” Though only the start of a process that may take many years, it puts Kyiv on course to realise an aspiration that would have been beyond its reach just months ago. Ukraine applied to join the EU four days after Russian troops poured across its border in February. Another four days later, so did Moldova and Georgia — smaller ex-Soviet states also contending with separatist regions occupied by Russia.