Poland and Lithuania say Ukraine deserves EU candidate status due to 'current security challenges'

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VILNIUS, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Ukraine deserves European Union candidate status, and Poland and Lithuania will support it in this goal, the presidents of the two countries said in a joint declaration with the Ukrainian president on Wednesday.

"We emphasize that, given the significant progress in the implementation of the Association Agreement and internal reforms, as well as the current security challenges, Ukraine deserves EU candidate status and Lithuania and Poland will support Ukraine in achieving this goal," said the declaration, signed in Kyiv by Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Polish President Andrzej Duda and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda.

The joint declaration calls on international community for "swift introduction" of "robust" sanctions on Russia, including measures targeting the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany.

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Reporting by Andrius Sytas in Vilnius; Editing by Alex Richardson

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