On 24 February 2022, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission and Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs, gave a press statement, on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. On 24 February 2022, following months of military build-up on Ukrainian borders, armed conflicts began in Ukraine under the impulsion of Russia.
Russian forces fired missiles at several cities in Ukraine and landed troops on its coast on Thursday, officials and media said, after President Vladimir Putin authorised what he called a special military operation in the east.
Condemning the military aggression perpetrated by Russia, the EU calls for a cease of hostilities, a withdrawal of its military from Ukraine and to respect the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.
President Putin is trying to turn back the clock to the times of the Russian empire. But in doing so, he is putting at risk the future of the Russian people. “President Putin is responsible for bringing war back to Europe,” European Commission chief, Ursula von der Leyen said, adding that the EU would hold him “accountable for that.”
It is President Putin, who is bringing war back to Europe. In these dark hours, the European Union and its people stand by Ukraine and its people. We are facing an unprecedented act of aggression by the Russian leadership against a sovereign, independent country. Russia’s target is not only Donbas, the target is not only Ukraine, the target is the stability in Europe and the whole of the international peace order. And we will hold President Putin accountable for that.
We will present a package of massive and targeted sanctions, to European Leaders for approval. With this package, we will target strategic sectors of the Russian economy by blocking their access to technologies and markets that are key for Russia. We will weaken Russia’s economic base and its capacity to modernise. And in addition, we will freeze Russian assets in the European Union and stop the access of Russian banks to European financial markets. Like with the first package of sanctions, we are closely aligned with our partners and allies – the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, but also, for example, Japan and Australia. These sanctions are designed to take a heavy toll on the Kremlin’s interests and their ability to finance war.