Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday welcomed the launch of accession talks with the EU next week, a step that will formally mark the start of Kyiv's path towards joining the bloc.

The announcement comes well into the third year of Russia's invasion, often portrayed by Kyiv as an existential fight to be part of the West and Europe.

"Millions of Ukrainians, and indeed generations of our people, are realising their European dream. Ukraine is returning to Europe, where it has belonged for centuries, as a full-fledged member of the European community," Zelensky said on social media.

European Union ministers will start negotiations first with Ukraine and then with Moldova in Luxembourg on Tuesday, said Belgium, which holds the bloc's rotating presidency.

Ukrainian officials hope these talks will ease the allocation of EU aid to the war-battered country.

"Countries will proceed from the fact that they are planning to help a future EU member, and this completely changes the approach," said Igor Zhovka, a senior official at the presidency.

"There will be more and faster" aid for Ukraine, he added.

He acknowledged however that Ukraine would not join the EU before it achieved "victory" against Russia -- following the consensus in Kyiv.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also celebrated the news.

"We have not let anyone or anything derail our historic trajectory," he wrote on X, formerly Twitter. "Nothing can stop it from realizing its European dream of the wheels of history from turning."