On 27 February, President of the European Commision Ursula von der Leyen and EU High Representative Josep Borrell announced additional restrictives measures against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.
The EU is shutting down EU airspace for all Russian-owned, Russian registered or Russian-controlled aircraft. These aircraft will no longer be able to land in, take off or overfly the territory of the EU. This will apply to any plane owned, chartered or otherwise controlled by a Russian legal or natural person.
“So let me be very clear. Our airspace will be closed to every Russian plane – and that includes the private jets of oligarchs,” said Ursula von der Leyen in a press conference.
Secondly, the EU will ban on its territory the Kremlin’s media machine. “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 sow division in our Union.”
Ursula von der Leyen added that the EU is developing tools to ban “their toxic and harmful disinformation in Europe”.
Thirdly, the EU will target the Lukashenko regime in Belarus, supporting Russia in its aggression against Ukraine. The EU will introduce restrictive measures against Belarus’ most important sectors. “This will stop their exports of products from mineral fuels to tobacco, wood and timber, cement, iron and steel. We will also extend to Belarus the export restrictions we introduced on dual use goods for Russia,” said von der Leyen.
The Commission President added that the EU welcomes “with open arms those Ukrainians who have to flee from Putin’s bombs”, adding that she is proud of the warm welcome that Europeans have given them. “We are mobilising every effort and every euro to support our Eastern Member States – to host and take care of these refugees”.
And in what she described as “a watershed moment”, Ursula von der Leyen said that, “for the first time ever, the European Union will finance the purchase and delivery of weapons and other equipment to a country that is under attack”.
EU High Representative Borrell added that, later today, he would propose to EU Foreign Ministers to use the Peace Facility for two urgent assistance measures to finalise the supply of lethal material to the Ukrainian army, as well as urgently needed fuel, protective equipment and medical supplies.
“Another taboo has fallen,” added Borrell, meaning that the EU never before has provided arms during the war.
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