French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune said that Ukraine, among other Eastern European countries, will "probably" join the European Union "in a few years."
"It is my deep conviction that there will be a European Union which will be in a few years, I don't know when, in a few years, probably extended to Ukraine, to Moldova, to Georgia, perhaps to other countries," Beaune told French broadcaster France Inter, speaking ahead of a meeting of EU leaders today and Friday in Versailles, outside Paris.
The admission of Ukraine to the EU though "is not for tomorrow," he added.
Beaune joined a chorus of global condemnation of a Russian "massacre" on a Ukrainian maternity hospital, adding that strikes against civilians were intensifying.
The minister also reiterated the need to move away from Russian gas as "fast as possible," adding that "Russia counts on the fact that we have need of her."
"By buying Russian gas, we are financing the war of Vladimir Putin," he said.
Beaune also called for joint European military defense complementary to the NATO military alliance.
He said that this would require investment, and the possibility of funding these efforts through joint European debt would be discussed at the Versailles summit.