BRUSSELS - EU leaders met on Thursday to discuss Ukraine’s bid to join the bloc, even as tensions between Brussels and Moscow deepened over gas and Russia closed in on key cities in the embattled Donbas.

“This is a decisive moment for the European Union... A choice must be made today that will determine the future of the union, our stability, our security and our prosperity,” EU council president Charles Michel told journalists ahead of the talks.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he conducted a “telephone marathon” ahead of the meeting, and approval is likely even though actual membership in the bloc remains years away. “We are waiting for the green light, Ukraine has earned candidate status,” the head of the Ukrainian presidency Andriy Yermak said on Telegram.

But the potential consequences for Ukraine’s allies loomed large over the talks, and ahead of the G7 and NATO meetings in the following days. Western officials denounced Moscow’s “weaponising” of its key gas and grain exports in the conflict, with a US official warning of further retaliatory measures at the G7 summit in Germany starting Sunday.