In this entry we include the institutional statements related to the situation in Ukraine between February 14 and 20.
Remarks by President Charles Michel at the Munich Security Conference (February 20, 2022)
First, allow me to recall the EU’s position on the current crisis around Ukraine and Russia, along with a few additional comments.
We, Europeans, are fully united. Within the EU and with our transatlantic allies and with our strategic partners, such as Japan, for instance. This is the paradox of the Kremlin’s actions. They hoped to sow division, to weaken our Alliance, to divide us. In fact, they have done exactly the opposite. Our unity has been cemented, both within the EU and across the Atlantic. This was crystal clear during our last informal European Council meeting two days ago in Brussels, and in the last phone call together with Joe Biden and other transatlantic leaders on Friday evening.
Of course, the big question remains: does the Kremlin want dialogue? A few days ago, their words offered a very small ray of hope. But their actions take the form of continued military build-up, with serious incidents in Donbas, including today.
We cannot forever offer an olive branch while Russia conducts missile tests and continues to amass troops. One thing is certain: if there is further military aggression, we will react with massive sanctions. The cost for Russia must be, and will be, severe. But let’s be frank, it will also be a cost for us, in Europe.
We staunchly support Ukraine, its sovereignty, its territorial integrity and its democracy. The people of Ukraine made the free choice of democratic values, rule of law and reform, and this has great value. But this democratic choice is perceived by the Kremlin as an existential threat due to its potential spill-over effect in the entire region. The Russian goal of weakening Western and European support for Ukraine is a miscalculation because it only galvanises our resolve.
In the very short term we have decided to mobilise €1.2 billion of macro-financial assistance to Ukraine, and I have proposed to launch an international donors conference in order to shore up the macro-economic stability of Ukraine and to support their economic reforms. But in my opinion we should also deepen the political and economic rapprochement with Ukraine, together with the European Union.
Remarks by President Charles Michel following the informal meeting of the members of the European Council (17 February, 2022)
We had a meeting, an informal meeting of the European Council just before the start of the summit with Africa, and it was the occasion to express our very strong unity, together with the member states and together with NATO. It was also the occasion to express our support to Ukraine. It was also the occasion to give the message that we believe that we must use all the diplomatic tools, all the diplomatic formats in order to de-escalate, to resolve those difficulties. And finally, we are firm: we are determined to protect, to defend our values. We are monitoring the situation on a daily basis; we are following closely the situation. Just before the start of the meeting with the European colleagues, I had a phone call with President Zelensky informing me about the latest developments on the ground and we urge Russia to de-escalate. We need tangible, visible effects on the ground.
There are four points that I would like to highlight: unity, the unwavering unity of the European Union, with partners in NATO as well. It is the commitment to diplomacy. We want to continue to believe. Diplomatic efforts can eventually lead to tangible, more positive results. But it’s also, of course, the support and backing for Ukraine, the solidarity with Ukraine that was expressed once again. And, certainly, the firmness to defend our values; the firmness and the preparation. We will continue to follow the situation closely, but this meeting was an opportunity to show that this European unity is strong, unwavering, and that we will act every time to protect peace, security and stability. We will also act to defend our values.
Published February 12:
The EU and its member states are coordinating their actions in view of the current threats on Ukraine.
Our diplomatic missions are not closing. They remain in Kyiv and continue to operate in support to EU citizens and in cooperation with the Ukrainian authorities. Staff presence and travel advice to EU citizens are being adjusted as necessary to take into account security circumstances.
We reaffirm our continued support to Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and diplomatic efforts towards de-escalation. We recall that any further military aggression against Ukraine will have massive consequences and severe cost in response.
BiH: High Representative Josep Borrell spoke to political leaders
On Friday 11, High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell held phone calls with political leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In separate conversations, he spoke to SDA leader Bakir Izetbegović, HDZ BiH leader Dragan Čović and SNSD leader Milorad Dodik. He called on all leaders to resume a serious and meaningful dialogue to ensure a long-term, sustainable resolution of the current political crisis in the country. He also urged the leaders of the Federation to remain committed to the talks on the constitutional and electoral reform and work towards an early agreement.
HRVP Borrell reiterated EU’s readiness, together with the US, to continue engaging in facilitating a balanced agreement, which addresses the concerns of all the parties and which would be in line with EU standards and would allow the country to advance on its EU path. He urged the relevant parties to show political courage and determination for an agreement to be found in time to be implemented for the general elections next October.
The High Representative recalled the EU’s unequivocal commitment to the territorial integrity, sovereignty and unity of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the readiness to use all the instruments in its toolbox available to help the country overcome the current political crisis and refocus fully on the reforms needed in line with the country’s EU perspective.
The HR/VP informed that on 21 February the Foreign Affairs Council would discuss in depth all the aspects of the situation in BiH.
Speech by President von der Leyen at the Munich Security Conference 2022
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The very reason why our Union was created is to put an end to all European wars. Thus, the world has been watching in disbelief as we face the largest build-up of troops on European soil since the darkest days of the Cold War. Because the events of these days could reshape the entire international system. Ukraine has just celebrated 30 years of independence. There is an entire generation of Ukrainians born and bred in a free country. They are children of democracy. But now, they are confronted, on a daily basis, with external aggression and interference. Some of them have lost relatives or classmates in the Donbas war. They are faced again with the prospect of conscription, to fight a war that they do not want, but that Moscow might impose on them. This is what the Kremlin’s policies mean in practice: to instil fear, and call it security; to deny 44 million Ukrainians from deciding freely about their own future; to deny a free country’s right to independence and self-determination. And the consequences of this approach matter well beyond Ukraine.
The Kremlin is not only trying to undermine the entire European security architecture, the Helsinki principles that have made all European countries safer, including Russia. It is also violating the UN Charter, where it states that countries ‘shall refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.’ We cannot let this stand.
We are facing a blatant attempt to rewrite the rules of our international system. One only has to read the recent communiqué issued by Russian and Chinese leaders. They seek a ‘new era’, as they say, to replace the existing international order. They prefer the rule of the strongest to the rule of law, intimidation instead of self-determination, coercion instead of cooperation. We still hope that peace will prevail and that diplomacy will take us there.
First, we should be ready to respond. We – the EU and its transatlantic partners – have been preparing a robust package of financial and economic sanctions, including on energy and cutting-edge technology. […]
Second, diversification. A strong European Union cannot be so reliant on an energy supplier that threatens to start a war on our continent. Gazprom is deliberately trying to store and deliver as little as possible while prices and demand are skyrocketing. […]
Third, supporting democracy in Ukraine. For seven years now, the Russian leadership has tried to destabilise Ukraine: Hybrid war, cyberattacks, disinformation – you name it. […]
My fourth and final point is about unity. Since the start of this Kremlin-made crisis, the European Union and the transatlantic community are fully aligned and united. We are supporting Ukraine to withstand the enormous pressure from Moscow. […]
Statement by the Commission following the second videoconference called by US President Joe Biden on the situation relating to Ukraine
They also underscored their resolute support to Ukraine. This includes in particular the speedy progress made in the final adoption of the support package of €1.2 billion in the form of an emergency financial assistance package.
The leaders took note of their ongoing detailed cooperation in the finalisation of massive sanctions against Russia. President von der Leyen described the state-of-play on the sectoral and individual sanctions in the case of further military aggression by Russia against Ukraine. She reaffirmed the fact that all options were on the table and that sanctions would concern the financial and energy sectors, as well as exports of high-tech products.
In parallel, the Commission has continued its work on preparedness in particular in the area of energy, reaching out to the EU’s partners in order to ensure additional supplies of natural gas / LNG in case of delivery disruptions by Russia. The President thanked President Joe Biden for his support in these efforts.
Finally, the President noted the need to continue fighting Russian disinformation through effective strategic communication efforts.
Statement on the talks between Björn Seibert, Head of Cabinet of President von der Leyen, and US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman
In keeping with the strong commitments to active transatlantic coordination, they discussed the steps taken by the EU and the US to encourage Russia to prioritise de-escalation, choose the path of diplomacy and refrain from all hostilities.
They reiterated that any further Russian aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and severe costs for the Russian Federation. And they coordinated in detail on preparations for a robust and comprehensive package of sanctions, which would be deployed swiftly in case of further military aggression by Russia.
Statement on the talks between Björn Seibert, Head of Cabinet of President von der Leyen, and Jake Sullivan, US National Security Advisor
Björn Seibert, Head of Cabinet of President von der Leyen, had a discussion last night with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on the evolution of the situation in Ukraine.
They coordinated on transatlantic preparations of a robust package of sanctions, which would be deployed swiftly in case of further military aggression of Russia in Ukraine. They also discussed concrete steps to support the Ukrainian economy.
Moreover, they exchanged views on the EU-US Strategic Partnership on Energy Security and the additional steps that will be taken to prepare for any future disruption of energy supplies to Europe. Energy cooperation between the EU and the US is intensifying, in accordance with the Joint Statement by Presidents Joe Biden and Ursula von der Leyen, and following the US-EU Energy Council, which took place in Washington DC last week.
They also agreed to step up the joint work on the COVID-19 pandemic and global health security, as well as on the global economic recovery and partnership on international infrastructure development through Global Gateway and the Build Back Better World initiative.
President Roberta Metsola
The President of the European Parliament addressed the opening of the Plenary Session in Strasbourg, making a statement on the situation in Ukraine.
“This week, concerns about the situation at the Ukrainian border will dominate our discussions.On Wednesday, High Representative Borrell will be here to discuss with Parliament the latest developments on the ground.
This will also be discussed at the Conference of Presidents, and our political Groups in this House are currently working on a declaration on the situation in Ukraine.
Also on Wednesday, we will vote on granting €1.2 billion Euros of ‘macro-financial assistance to Ukraine’, to support Ukraine’s stability and resilience in the current difficult circumstances.
On behalf of the European Parliament let me express our solidarity with the people of Ukraine, as they continue to face the uncertainty of the past weeks and fear of Russian military aggression. What we are witnessing is a serious threat to peace in Europe.
We all saw the people on the streets of Kiev, who showed that they are not afraid. Now, their defiance must be matched by continued European resolve and unity.
The position of this House is clear: Ми з Україною. We are with Ukraine. Ukraine is a sovereign State that must be free to decide on its future for the benefit of its people. No one should undermine that right.
We are united in our respect for Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity. While we urge for a de-escalation of the current tension, this Parliament stands ready to support swift, forceful and concrete action. We do this in coordination with other European Institutions and the international community should the situation deteriorate.
In conclusion, we owe a strong show of support to the people of Ukraine, and this week the Parliament will do just that.”
Joint statement by Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič and UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss following their meeting in London today