The European Union tonight adopted a new set of measures to respond to Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, including the supply of lethal equipment and supplies to the Ukrainian armed forces, a flight ban on all Russian aircraft and a ban on transactions with the Russian Central Bank.
The Council of the European Union agreed the measures in close coordination with EU’s partners and allies.
“Following the request by Foreign Affairs Minister of Ukraine, we are immediately responding by mobilising the European Peace Facility for two emergency assistance measures to finance the supply of lethal and non-lethal material to the Ukrainian army,” said EU High Representative Josep Borrell. “This is the first time in history that the EU will be providing lethal equipment to a third country. We are doing everything we can to support Ukraine, we stand by the Ukrainian people.”
The Council adopted two assistances measures under the European Peace Facility (EPF) that will contribute to strengthening the capabilities and resilience of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country, and protect the civilian population against the ongoing military aggression. The assistance measures, worth in total €500 million, will finance the provision of equipment and supplies to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, including – for the first time – lethal equipment.
Secondly, the Council adopted severe restrictive measures related to aviation and finance.
EU member states will deny permission to land in, take off from or overfly their territories to any aircraft operated by Russian air carriers, including as a marketing carrier, or to any Russian registered aircraft, or to non-Russian registered aircraft which are owned or chartered, or otherwise controlled by a Russian legal or natural person.
Moreover, it will be prohibited to make transactions with the Russian Central Bank or any legal person, entity or body acting on behalf or at the direction of the Russian Central Bank.
Announcing the measures, the EU “condemned in the strongest possible terms the Russian Federation’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine, as well as the involvement of Belarus in this aggression”, demanding that Russia immediately ceases its military actions, unconditionally withdraws all forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine and fully respects Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognised borders.
“The use of force and coercion to change borders has no place in the 21st century. Tensions and conflict should be resolved exclusively through dialogue and diplomacy,” the EU statement said, adding: “The EU will continue cooperating closely with neighbours and reiterates its unwavering support for, and commitment to, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and of the Republic of Moldova.”
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