Ukraine now has a "very clear European perspective" following the European Union's decision to grant the country candidate status to join the bloc, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a speech to the Ukrainian parliament.

"Ukraine now has a very clear European perspective. And Ukraine is a candidate country to join the European Union something that seemed almost unimaginable just five months ago," von der Leyen said in a speech by video-link to the assembly on Friday.

"So today is first and foremost. A moment to celebrate this historic milestone, a victory of determination and resolve and a victory for the whole movement that started eight years ago on the Maidan," she added.

(Reporting by Charlotte van Campenhout and John Chalmers; editing by Francesco Guarascio)