The tenth sanctions package the EU is set to announce on the anniversary of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine will further weaken Russia’s war machine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a joint press conference with European Council President Charles Michel and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Brussels today. Von der Leyen said the EU would impose sanctions on a number of political and military leaders and would target Putin’s propagandists, “because their lies are poisoning the public space in Russia and abroad”. She added that Zelenskyy had insisted on this during the Ukraine-EU summit recently held in Kyiv.
Secondly, the package would include an additional export ban of more than €10 billion. This would further constrain Russia’s war machine and continue to undermine the foundations of its economy.
Von der Leyen also assured Zelenskyy that the EU is discussing the exact structure of the future tribunal for Russia: “We have the political will to hold the perpetrators accountable, including for the crime of aggression… So we must find a way.”
President of the European Council Charles Michel added that the EU would take appropriate measures to use frozen Russians assets to rebuild Ukraine. For its part, the EU has allocated €67 billion in support to Ukraine and the Ukrainians over the past year, von der Leyen said, and will strengthen its military support, Michel added.
Concerning Ukraine’s accession to the EU, both von der Leyen and Michel praised Ukraine’s efforts, saying the country was advancing fast in seven areas identified by the European Commission. On the timeline, von der Leyen explained that there would be an oral report this spring, but the “big goal is to show the progress and to show the track record in the progress and the reforms in the written enlargement report in fall”. She added that the Commission would support Ukraine “as much as possible and advise as much as possible on these questions”.
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