An important development in Russia's war in Ukraine takes place this week - far from the conflict zone.
Ukraine now has major backing from the European Commission, France, Germany and Italy to become a ''candidate" to join the European Union, and a leaders summit this Thursday and Friday could confirm it.
It would be an important mark of support for Ukraine, struggling against Russian firepower in the east of the country.
On the ground the war is one of brutal attrition, with heavy losses of fighters and weapons on both sides. Russia says it holds about half of Donetsk and most of Luhansk in the Donbas region. Britain's Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Tony Radakin said last week that: "President [Vladimir] Putin has used about 25 per cent of his army's power to gain a tiny amount of territory and 50,000 people either dead or injured".
Ukraine has said hundreds of its soldiers are being killed daily in Donbas. Various countries have offered further military aid and Britain is planning a Ukrainian soldier training programme.
Formal "candidate" status could still mean a years-long process for Ukraine joining the bloc rather than any fast-track plan.
Still it throws a blanket of likely future political and economic integration over Ukraine. Geographically it would put a huge chunk of territory that used to be part of the former Soviet Union in the EU corner.
"It's the first step on the EU membership path that'll certainly bring our victory closer," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. "Precisely because of the bravery of the Ukrainians, Europe can create a new history of freedom and finally remove the grey zone in eastern Europe between the EU and Russia."
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It appears to be a message to Moscow that Kyiv's backers are ready for a long game: Russia may be able to hold or expand its territory in Ukraine for now, but a big price is further European expansion and an ever-lengthening border with the EU.
Ukraine would get help to resist, to rebuild, and to improve its future defences as part of a large group of nations. War damage has been estimated at US$150 billion. Ukraine has also said that 270,000km of land will need to be de-mined.
French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited Kyiv last week. Russia has already replied, cutting gas deliveries to France and Italy. The economic fallout from the war around the world is piling up and spurring protests.
Strategically it remains the case that Russia's invasion in February has pushed several outside countries closer to the western European bloc - the opposite of what Putin hoped to achieve.
First Finland and Sweden sought to join Nato, and now the EC is proposing EU candidate status for Ukraine and Moldova. Turkey has objected to the Nato moves.
Having Ukraine and Moldova in the EU fold and Finland and Sweden in Nato could be hugely significant long-term. Handled right, Western Europe could be less dependent on Russia for energy, be more rich in food and be militarily stronger.
For now though, Ukraine needs further military supplies to make advances and pressure Russia into talks and a possible settlement.