Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged the EU to allow Ukraine to become a member state quickly.

"Our path to membership must not take decades," he told his national parliament in Kyiv as the President of the EU Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, addressed it by video-link today.

"We must traverse this path as quickly as possible. This depends on us."

Ukrainian politicians clapped in unison as a huge EU flag was brought into the assembly hall by three servicemen from the National Guard dressed in ceremonial uniforms.

Ms Von der Leyen said Ukraine now has a "very clear European perspective" but the road to EU membership will take time and require hard work.

The urgent measures Ukraine needed to take, she advised, include the adoption of a media law, the implementation of new rules that reduce oligarchs' excessive clout and the appointment of top anti-corruption officials.

Mr Zelensky urged lawmakers to pass all those measures.

EU leaders last week granted Ukraine candidate status to join the bloc, formally opening a process that is expected to take years before it becomes a member of the union that now comprises 27 countries.

Ms von der Leyen underlined the progress made by the country in its path towards EU membership while it defends itself against Russia's 24 February invasion.

"Ukraine is a candidate country to join the European Union, something that seemed almost unimaginable just five months ago," she told members of parliament and President Volodymyr Zelensky.

"There is a long road ahead but Europe will be at your side every step of the way, for as long as it takes, from these dark days of war until the moment you cross the door that leads into our union," she said.

"The next steps are within your reach. But they will require hard work," she added.

"You have created an impressive anti-corruption machine," she told politicians by videolink.

"But now these institutions need teeth, and the right people in senior posts."

she also called on Kyiv to empower an independent media regulator to protect a free press.

Ms Von der Leyen's warm address heaped praise on Ukraine's parliament and President Volodymyr Zelensky's government for their swift and successful push to become candidates for EU membership.

"So today is first and foremost a moment to celebrate this historic milestone, a victory of determination and resolve and a victory for the whole movement that started eight years ago on the Maidan."

Ukraine applied for EU membership just five days after Russia's invasion and the 27 existing member states accepted its candidacy on 23 June, in a strong signal of support.

Next week, Ms von der Leyen will join international and Ukrainian leaders in Lugano, Switzerland at a conference to raise funds and make plans for the post-war reconstruction in Ukraine.

"Your European path and the reconstruction of the country will go hand in hand," she said.

"Ukraine will be in the lead. Massive investments will have to come, but to maximise their impact and to foster business confidence, investments will have to be coupled with a new wave of reforms."

Her address comes hours after Russian missiles hit an apartment building and a resort near Ukraine's Black Sea port of Odesa. At least 18 people were killed, with dozens more injured.