Europe blue banner and yellow stars with European Union map inside

LYSYCHANSK, Ukraine (AP) — The European Union’s executive arm has recommended putting Ukraine on a path to membership. That’s a symbolic boost for the embattled country fending off a Russian onslaught in the east that is taking civilian lives and flattening cities. The possibility of membership in a union created to safeguard peace on the continent fulfils a wish of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the many Western-looking citizens. In another show of solidarity, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson traveled to Kyiv to meet Zelenskyy, his second trip to the country since the war began. The latest embrace of Ukraine by its European allies marks another setback for Russian President Vladimir Putin. He launched his war hoping to pull his ex-Soviet neighbor back into Russia’s sphere of influence.