Ukraine may have many years to wait before joining the European Union, but the war-battered country was granted a place alongside members of the bloc this week at "Mini-Europe", an open-air theme park of famous European landmarks.

Set among more than 300 miniature models and scenes in the Brussels park, visitors will see depictions of refugees fleeing Ukraine following Russia's invasion in February, and trucks taking medical and food aid into the country.

The centrepiece is a model of the independence monument in Kyiv's Maidan Square surrounded by people with Ukrainian and EU flags, and President Volodymyr Zelenskiy handing over Ukraine's formal application for membership of the EU.

Mini-Europe owner Thierry Meeus told Reuters the idea was to demonstrate the EU's solidarity with Ukraine, and the country's European destiny, making it the first candidate for eventual membership of the EU to be represented at the park.

The park of around 20,0000 square metres, which opened in 1989, includes mini models of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, London's Houses of Parliament and the Grand Place in Brussels.

(Reporting by John Chalmers Editing by Gareth Jones)