The European Council will swiftly adopt further sanctions against Russia that will impose “massive and severe” consequences on Russia for its actions, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on February 24.
The statement came as a massive military assault ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin against Ukraine began, with missile attacks on Kyiv and other cities and with reports of Russian military columns crossing into Ukraine.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms Russia’s unprecedented military aggression against Ukraine,” the joint statement by Michel and Von der Leyen said.
“By its unprovoked and unjustified military actions, Russia is grossly violating international law and undermining European and global security and stability. We deplore the loss of life and the human suffering.
“We call on Russia to immediately cease the hostilities, withdraw its military from Ukraine and fully respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence. Such use of force and coercion has no place in the 21st century,” the joint statement said.
Ahead of the broadcast of Putin’s announcement of the military operation against Ukraine, an emergency meeting of the European Council had been called for the evening of February 24.
Von der Leyen and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell will outline the further sanctions package, being finalised by the European Commission and the European External Action Service in close co-ordination with partners, the statement said.
(Photo of Borrell: Pietro Naj Oleari)
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