EU ups the ante with Russia; closes airspace, bans media | European Union News

The European Union has introduced sweeping new sanctions towards 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 received’t be capable 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 international locations 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 going through a close to complete blockade of the continent’s skies.

The measures come on prime of sanctions von der Leyen introduced a day earlier which might be about to be applied: reducing 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 towards a rustic, reflecting the bloc’s horror and anger at Putin’s assault on Ukraine, launched on Thursday.

“Because the battle in Ukraine rages on, and Ukrainians struggle bravely for his or her nation, the European Union steps up as soon as extra its assist for Ukraine and the sanctions towards 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 airplane – and that features the non-public jets of oligarchs”.

The measure consolidated what was already de facto largely in place, with most of the EU’s 27 nations individually asserting airspace closures to Russian flights.

Stopping Russian ‘lies’

The transfer towards Russian state media focused its retailers Russia At this time – often called RT – and Sputnik, and their subsidiaries.

Von der Leyen mentioned they “will now not be capable to unfold their lies to justify Putin’s battle and to sow division in our Union”.

The EU’s overseas coverage chief Josep Borrell, at her aspect, mentioned the measure concerned “banning Russia At this time and Sputnik from broadcasting within the European Union”.

Sputnik responded with a sardonic assertion saying: “We recommend the European Fee not cease midway and ban the web altogether.”

RT’s French subsidiary tweeted the ban “goes towards the very ideas of freedom of expression” and mentioned it was a sufferer of “censorship”.

Von der Leyen mentioned the sanctions towards Belarus have been geared toward “the opposite aggressor on this battle”, 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 towards their most necessary sectors. This can cease their exports of merchandise from mineral fuels to tobacco, wooden and timber, cement, iron and metal.

“We may also 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 availability of deadly materials to the Ukrainian military, in addition to badly wanted gas, protecting tools and medical provides”.

“We’re doing this as a result of this battle requires our engagement in an effort to assist the Ukrainian military – as a result of we stay in unprecedented instances,” he mentioned.