EC: European Union to freeze Russian assets in EU, stop Russian banks’ access to European financial markets

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen outlined on February 24 the heightened package of sanctions to be put to EU leaders for approval in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

On the eve of the invasion, a special meeting of the European Council had been called for the evening of February 24.

Von der Leyen said that the package of sanctions would be “massive and targeted”.

“With this package, we will target strategic sectors of the Russian economy by blocking their access to technologies and markets that are key for Russia,” Von der Leyen said.

“We will weaken Russia’s economic base and its capacity to modernise. And in addition, we will freeze Russian assets in the European Union and stop the access of Russian banks to European financial markets.

“Like with the first package of sanctions, we are closely aligned with our partners and allies – the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, but also, for example, Japan and Australia. These sanctions are designed to take a heavy toll on the Kremlin’s interests and their ability to finance war,” she said.

Of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Von der Leyen said: We condemn this barbaric attack, and the cynical arguments to justify it.

“It is President Putin, who is bringing war back to Europe. In these dark hours, the European Union and its people stand by Ukraine and its people.

“We are facing an unprecedented act of aggression by the Russian leadership against a sovereign, independent country.

“Russia’s target is not only Donbass, the target is not only Ukraine, the target is the stability in Europe and the whole of the international peace order.

“And we will hold President Putin accountable for that,” Von der Leyen said, adding: “And we know that millions of Russians do not want war”.

“I call on Russia to immediately stop the violence and to withdraw its troops from Ukraine’s territory.”

Von der Leyen said that history had proven that societies and alliances built on trust and freedom are resilient and successful.

“And that is exactly what the autocrats fear. The European Union stands with Ukraine and its people. We will continue to support them. Ukraine will prevail,” Von der Leyen said.

(Photo of Von der Leyen: EC Audiovisual Service)

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