European leaders say massive sanctions against Russia are on their way

Josep Borrell - Ursula von der LeyenPhoto: Kenzo Tribouillard, Pool Photo via AP
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The EU heads of state and governments say they will impose sanctions that will have massive and serious consequences for Russia.

“We strongly condemn Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine. Through unprovoked and unjustified military action, Russia is violating international law and undermining European and global security and stability,” the members of the European Council wrote in a joint statement on Thursday.

European leaders also condemn Belarus’ role in the attack on Ukraine.

EU leaders demand that Russia immediately suspend all military action and withdraw its forces from Ukrainian territory.

Later on Thursday, the EU will hold an urgent meeting to discuss the crisis and further sanctions that they believe will have “massive and serious consequences” for Russia.

Most powerful sanctions ever

The EU’s sanctions package, which will be discussed at Thursday’s emergency meeting, is described as the strongest and most powerful ever from the EU, in response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

“We will present a package of massive and targeted sanctions that EU leaders will get to approve,” she added.

Targeted sanctions

According to von der Leyen, the proposal that EU leaders will decide on later on Thursday will “hit strategic sectors in the Russian economy by closing access to technology and markets that are important to Russia.”

If the sanctions are adopted, they will weaken Russia’s economic base and the country’s ability to modernize, von der Leyen believes. In addition, the plan is to freeze Russian funds in the EU and stop Russian banks’ access to European financial markets.

Similar to the first sanctions package adopted and introduced when Russia recognized the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine as independent, all Western countries are standing together, according to von der Leyen.

“We are closely coordinated with our partners and allies in the United States, Great Britain, Canada, but also, for example, Japan and Australia,” the head of the European Commission added.

Background: Russian attack on Ukraine

In the middle of the night, around 4 AM Norwegian time, in an extraordinary television address, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia was launching a military operation in Ukraine.

Putin announced the attack on Ukraine during an extraordinary session of the UN Security Council.

Ukraine has closed its airspace to civilian flights.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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