Check against delivery!
As Putin’s war against Ukraine and its people continues, so continues our resolve to support Ukraine and to cripple the financing of the Kremlin’s war machinery.
We are witnessing a massive aggression against civilians, a humanitarian catastrophe and a series of atrocities amounting to war crimes, which are taking place in Ukraine, committed by Russian armed forces.
As of today, we can count almost 80 children and hundreds of civilians that have been killed, injured or displaced. Thousands are internally displaced inside Ukraine and two and a half million – two and a half million in less than two weeks – are already refugees in the European Union Member States. This is the size of some of our Member States. And, certainly, it is the biggest move of people since the end of World War II in the European lands.
Mariupol and other cities are under a brutal siege. Other cities are being bombed out.
Putin is trying to destroy Ukraine. Putin is destroying Ukraine, but he is also harming his own troops and his own citizens. The troops are dying in hundreds, as this senseless invasion got stuck by the bravery and determination of Ukrainian freedom fighters.
And, in addition, Putin is wreaking havoc on Russia’s economy. Russia’s economy is being very much hard hit by our sanctions.
The international community – about 40 countries – has introduced sanctions in response to President Putin’s war and they are hitting his regime hard.
The aim of the sanctions is to stop the reckless, inhuman and aggressive behaviour of the Russian troops. As long as he does not stop attacking Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, we will continue to adopt restrictive measures.
President [Ursula] von der Leyen, the President of the Commission, just outlined new EU measures affecting trade, market access, membership in international financial institutions, crypto-assets, exports of luxury goods and targeting of steel and energy sectors.
In addition to these sectoral measures, I am putting forward proposals to sanction more individuals and more companies that are playing an active role or supporting the people who undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty by the Russian government.
With these sanctions, we will continue going after the oligarchs, the regime-affiliated elites, their families and prominent businesspeople, which are involved in economic sectors providing a substantial source of revenue to the regime.
They are active in the steel industry, they provide military products and technology or they provide financial and investment services.
This is another major blow to the economic and logistic base upon which the Kremlin is building the invasion and taking the resources to finance it.
And we will target more people, more people who play a leading role in disinformation and propaganda – a real war, an ideas war, a narrative war – that accompanies this deplorable war of Putin against Ukrainian people.
And, in order to continue supporting the Ukrainian army and people, I have also proposed, here today in Versailles, to the European leaders to top up, to increase our contribution from our financial resources coming from the European Peace Facility, with another additional €500 million to answer to the needs of the defenders of Ukrainian people and territory.
With this, we reaffirm our unwavering support to Ukraine. We salute the bravery of their citizens and armed forces, and we stand with them until Putin will stop this senseless and criminal war.