Ukraine to shut Russia border, seek EU membership

President Petro Poroshenko on Thursday ordered a temporary closure of Ukraine’s porous border with Russia and voiced plans to apply for EU membership in 2020 as part of his ex-Soviet country’s Westward shift, AFP reports.

A decree published on the presidential website ordered the government “to settle… the issue of temporarily closing checkpoints on Ukraine’s state border with the Russian Federation to cars, sea and pedestrian traffic.”

It added that the 2,000-kilometre (1,200-mile) land frontier with Ukraine’s giant northeastern neighbour may be closed “to other forms of traffic” if necessary.

The presidency said Poroshenko also told a meeting of judges that Ukraine would make a formal EU membership bid in 2020 that was made possible by this year’s signing of a landmark political and economic association pact.

Poroshenko said his “Strategy 2020” plan “envisions 60 reforms and social programmes whose adoption will prepare Ukraine to apply for membership in the European Union in six years,” his press service said.

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