In light of Russia entering the east of Ukraine last night in violation of the country's territorial integrity, Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has said sanctions that hit Russia where it hurts should be imposed quickly.
On Tuesday morning, EU ambassadors met to discuss what measures can be taken in response to Russia signing an executive order on the recognition of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent states and the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin is sending so-called "peacekeeping troops" to the region, escalating an ongoing conflict.
De Croo has said the bloc will respond appropriately to what has happened.
"What happened there is a very serious violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine. We have to keep a cool head but show very clearly to Russia that this kind of thing leads to high costs for the country," he told Radio 1.
Various heads of state and political leaders have publically condemned Russia's recent actions, including European Council President Charles Michel and Belgium's Foreign Affairs Minister Sophie Wilmès.
De Croo emphasised that decisions need to be made quickly. "I cannot anticipate what these will be, as almost everything is on the table for this meeting, but measures must be taken that affect Russia where it hurts, of course," he said. This is in line with Belgium's stance on the matter. "Our line will be that it must be appropriate measures that can be implemented quickly." Meanwhile, Joe Biden, the President of the United States has signed an Executive Order to impose economic sanctions on the two regions, however, no sanctions have been imposed targeting the whole of Russia so far.
Belgium condemns the recognition of the separatist territories in #Ukraine. It is a violation of international law, the Minsk agreements and the territorial integrity of Ukraine. We will work closely with our EU and NATO partners for a strong and united reaction.— Sophie Wilmès (@Sophie_Wilmes) February 21, 2022
I have signed an Executive Order to deny Russia the chance to profit from its blatant violations of international law. We are continuing to closely consult with Allies and partners, including Ukraine, on next steps. pic.twitter.com/ZS81ivAPgs— President Biden (@POTUS) February 22, 2022