Noting the urgency of giving Ukraine and other EU hopefuls like Moldova and Georgia a place in the heart of Europe, the French president called for the creation of a "European political community".
France's President Emmanuel Macron has said it would take "decades" for a candidate like Ukraine to join the European Union, and suggested building a broader political community of democratic states around the bloc.
"Even if we gave them candidate status tomorrow," he said of Ukraine on Monday, "we all know perfectly well that the process of allowing them to join would take several years, in truth doubtless several decades."
But noting the urgency of giving Ukraine and other EU hopefuls like Moldova and Georgia a place in the heart of Europe, he called for the creation of a "European political community".
Russia attacked Ukraine in February, in part to thwart Kiev's tilt towards integration with the EU and NATO. Georgia and Moldova are also partly occupied by Moscow's troops.
Just ahead of Macron's speech, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, tweeted that the EU executive would give its "opinion" on Ukraine's membership bid in June.
But Macron, in a speech endorsing calls for a treaty change to further strengthen the EU's federal integration, said the bloc, "given its level of integration and ambition" could not be Europe's only organising body.
"It is our historic obligation...to create what I would describe before you today as a European political community," he said.
"This new European organisation would allow democratic European nations...to find a new space for political cooperation, security, cooperation in energy, transport, investment, infrastructure, the movement of people."
Later, Macron also said Russia and Ukraine would have to come to a negotiated truce and that peace efforts would not be served by Russia's "humiliation".
"Tomorrow we'll have a peace to build, let's never forget that," he told reporters. "We will have to do this with Ukraine and Russia around the table.
"The terms of the discussion and negotiation will be set by Ukraine and Russia, but that will not be done through... the exclusion of one another, nor even in their humiliation."