At a joint press briefing on Sunday evening, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and High Representative Josep Borrell announced further sanctions against Russia and, for the first time in EU’s history, the delivery of weapons to a country in war.
“As the war in Ukraine rages on, and Ukrainians fight bravely for their country, the EU steps up once more its support for Ukraine and the sanctions against the aggressor – Putin's Russia,” von der Leyen said in her statement. “For the first time ever, the EU will finance the purchase and delivery of weapons and other equipment to a country that is under attack.”
“President Zelensky's leadership and his bravery and the resilience of the Ukrainian people are outstanding and impressive,” she added. “They are an inspiration to us all.”
EU foreign policy chief Borrell presented the proposal on arms deliveries which will be discussed at an extraordinary foreign affairs council later on Sunday evening.
As a full-fledge war rages on at EUs borders, with the Ukrainian forces fighting back against the Russian invasion, the time has come to support Ukraine with lethal and protective equipment, he explained. The deliveries will be financed by the European Peace Facility.
EU will also strengthen once more its sanctions against the Kremlin and its collaborator, Lukashenko's regime. The exports from Belarus’ most important sectors will be banned, such as exports from mineral fuels to tobacco, wood and timber, cement, iron and steel.
EU’s airspace will be shut down for all Russian-owned, Russian registered or Russian-controlled aircraft, including the private jets of oligarchs. These aircraft will no more be able to land in, take off or overfly the territory of the EU.
Kremlin's media machine will be banned in the EU. “The state-owned Russia Today and Sputnik, as well as their subsidiaries will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin's war and to saw division in our Union. So we are developing tools to ban their toxic and harmful disinformation in Europe. Borrell encouraged citizens to access EU's disinformation reviews.
All new measures come on top of the package that was announced yesterday. Under this package, important Russian banks will be excluded from the SWIFT system. The transactions of Russia's central bank will be banned which will freeze all its assets.
Update: Following the foreign affairs council meeting on Sunday evening, HR Borrell said at a press conference that it had decided to use EU’s capacities to provide arms, lethal arms, lethal assistance to the Ukrainian army for a value of €450 million support package and €50 million more for the non-lethal supplies – such as fuel and protective equipment. Poland has offered to serve as a logistic hub for the transfer of this material assistance to Ukraine.
“We are going to supply arms and even fighter jets. We are not talking just about ammunition; we are providing the most important arms to go to war,” he said. In addition, several member states are deciding to provide arms by themselves. This material is already on its way, according to Borrell.
The Brussels Times