President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen
Press statement by President von der Leyen on the EU’s response to the Russian aggression against Ukraine (February 22)
“Check against delivery”
Today, EU Member States have given their political agreement for a new package of sanctions against Russia. I welcome this. Russia’s decision to recognise the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk is illegal and completely unacceptable. The same is true for the decision to send troops to these regions. We cannot accept this. This decision violates the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. Russia is not respecting its international obligations and it is violating core principles of international law. Russia has manufactured this crisis and is responsible for the current escalation. We will now quickly finalise the sanctions package. And we will coordinate closely with our partners, as we have done so far.
This solid package contains a number of calibrated measures. It is a clear response to these violations of international law by the Kremlin. The sanctions directly target individuals and companies involved in these actions. They target banks that finance the Russian military apparatus and contribute to the destabilisation of Ukraine. We are also banning trade between the two breakaway regions and the EU – as we have done after the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. And finally, we are limiting the Russian government´s ability to raise capital on the EU’s financial markets. We will make it as difficult as possible for the Kremlin to pursue its aggressive policies.
On Nord Stream 2, I think the German government is absolutely right. Nord Stream 2 has to be assessed in light of the security of energy supply for the whole of Europe. Because this crisis shows that Europe is still too dependent on Russian gas. We have to diversify our suppliers and massively invest in renewables. This is a strategic investment in our energy independence. Our action today is a response to Russia´s aggressive behaviour. If Russia continues to escalate this crisis that it has created, we are ready to take further action in response. The EU is united and acting fast.
Statement by the Presidents of the European Commission and the European Council on Russian aggression against Ukraine (22 February)
The decision of the Russian Federation to recognise as independent entities and send Russian troops to certain areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts is illegal and unacceptable. It violates international law, Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, Russia’s own international commitments and it further escalates the crisis.
Both Presidents welcome the steadfast unity of Member States and their determination to react with robustness and speed to the illegal actions of Russia in close coordination with international partners.
An informal meeting of EU Foreign Affairs Ministers chaired by the High Representative will take place today at 4 pm. Following that, a first package of sanctions will be formally tabled later this afternoon.
Appropriate bodies will then meet to finalise the package without delay.
The package contains proposals:
- to target those who were involved in the illegal decision,
- to target banks that are financing Russian military and other operations in those territories,
- to target the ability of the Russian state and government to access the EU’s capital and financial markets and services, to limit the financing of escalatory and aggressive policies,
- and to target trade from the two breakaway regions to and from the EU, to ensure that those responsible clearly feel the economic consequences of their illegal and aggressive actions.
The EU has prepared and stands ready to adopt additional measures at a later stage if needed in the light of further developments.
Both Presidents supported by the High Representative continue to follow closely developments on the ground and consult with fellow EU leaders and international counterparts.
The Union remains in full solidarity with Ukraine and united in support for its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
We stand by and will continue to support Ukraine and its people.