The European Union has introduced sweeping new sanctions in opposition to Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, closing its airspace to Russian plane and banning Russian state media retailers broadcasting within the bloc.
EU chief Ursula von der Leyen, asserting the measures on Sunday, mentioned the Union was taking the unprecedented step of financing arms to Ukraine, and was hitting Russian ally Belarus with sanctions for facilitating the invasion.
“They gained’t have the ability to land in, take off or overfly the territory of the EU. Together with the non-public jets of oligarchs,” von der Leyen mentioned of the airspace measures in a tweet.
Particular person EU nations have been asserting bans on Russian planes of their airspace in current days.
The UK has moreover banned Russian airways from touchdown at its airports or crossing its airspace, which means Moscow is dealing with a close to complete blockade of the continent’s skies.
The measures come on high of sanctions von der Leyen introduced a day earlier which are about to be carried out: slicing some Russian banks from the SWIFT interbank messaging community, banning all transactions with Russia’s central financial institution, and added restrictions on Russian oligarchs.
The EU has additionally sanctioned Russian President Vladimir Putin and his overseas minister Sergey Lavrov.
Collectively, the steps added as much as the hardest stance the EU has taken in opposition to a rustic, reflecting the bloc’s horror and anger at Putin’s assault on Ukraine, launched on Thursday.
“Because the struggle in Ukraine rages on, and Ukrainians combat bravely for his or her nation, the European Union steps up as soon as extra its help for Ukraine and the sanctions in opposition to the aggressor – Putin’s Russia,” von der Leyen mentioned in a broadcast handle.
She mentioned the airspace ban would prohibit flights into or over the EU by “each Russian aircraft – and that features the non-public jets of oligarchs”.
The measure consolidated what was already de facto largely in place, with lots of the EU’s 27 nations individually asserting airspace closures to Russian flights.
Stopping Russian ‘lies’
The transfer in opposition to Russian state media focused its retailers Russia Right now – often called RT – and Sputnik, and their subsidiaries.
Von der Leyen mentioned they “will not have the ability to unfold their lies to justify Putin’s struggle and to sow division in our Union”.
The EU’s overseas coverage chief Josep Borrell, at her facet, mentioned the measure concerned “banning Russia Right now and Sputnik from broadcasting within the European Union”.
Sputnik responded with a sardonic assertion saying: “We propose the European Fee not cease midway and ban the web altogether.”
RT’s French subsidiary tweeted the ban “goes in opposition to the very rules of freedom of expression” and mentioned it was a sufferer of “censorship”.
Von der Leyen mentioned the sanctions in opposition to Belarus had been aimed toward “the opposite aggressor on this struggle”, naming the regime of strongman Alexander Lukashenko.
“We are going to hit Lukashenko’s regime with a brand new bundle of sanctions,” she mentioned.
“We are going to introduce restrictive measures in opposition to their most necessary sectors. This may cease their exports of merchandise from mineral fuels to tobacco, wooden and timber, cement, iron and metal.
“We can even prolong to Belarus the export restrictions we launched on dual-use items for Russia.”
Belarusians serving to Russia’s army operation would even be sanctioned, she mentioned.
Von der Leyen mentioned the choice to offer funding for the acquisition and supply of arms to Ukraine was “a watershed second for our Union”.
Borrell mentioned he would “suggest to make use of the European Peace Facility for emergency help measures to finance the provision of deadly materials to the Ukrainian military, in addition to badly wanted gas, protecting gear and medical provides”.
“We’re doing this as a result of this struggle requires our engagement with a view to help the Ukrainian military – as a result of we dwell in unprecedented instances,” he mentioned.