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.

"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.