Georgia formally applies for EU membership
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said on Thursday that his country had officially applied for membership in the European Union.
"We are applying today for EU membership," Garibashvili said in a statement after signing the application letter, according to dpa news agency. "Georgia is a European state and continues to make a valuable contribution to its protection and development," he added.
Georgia's move comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged membership for his country amid Russia's ongoing invasion.
Why is Georgia applying?
Both Georgia and Ukraine are former Soviet states that fear a renewed takeover by Russia.
Georgia experienced Russian aggression in August 2008, when Moscow staged a brief invasion over two breakaway self-proclaimed republics in the country, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Moscow recognized the independence of the two regions after a cease-fire.
EU membership could bolster the defenses of both countries against Russia and improve their economies by giving them access to the single market.
Moldova also applies for EU membership
Moldova also formally applied for membership in the EU on Thursday, Moldovan President Maia Sandu announced.
Sandu has previously expressed concerns that Russia may invade Moldova. Thousands of Russian soldiers are currently stationed in the breakaway republic of Transnistra.
Joining the EU would come with both defense and economic advantages for Moldova.