Friday, March 24

The EU and the US close the siege on the Kremlin while Putin activates his nuclear arsenal

The European Union, the US and their allies squeeze Vladimir Putin day by day, and continue to agree on new sanctions as an invasion that is choking the Kremlin continues, with fewer and fewer international allies, in the face of the resistance of the Ukrainian people. It is often theorized about the slowness in decision-making in Europe and the problem generated by unanimity in international politics, a field in which powers remain in the States, not in the EU.

The EU closes its airspace to Russia, will send weapons to Ukraine, will cut the broadcast of RT and welcome refugees

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But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, an event not seen since World War II, is stirring consciences in all European chancelleries. But also outside Europe.

The EU, in a matter of four days, since Putin began his attack on Ukraine, has decided to sanction the deputies who voted in favor of recognizing the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, the country’s main banks and a leading group close to to Putin, including oligarchs and businessmen. But it has also decided to attack Putin’s assets and those of his chief diplomat, Sergei Lavrov, as well as those of the Central Bank of Russia – “Half of the financial reserves of the Central Bank of Russia are in banks of the G7, and we are going to act”, said the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell.

In addition, this Sunday the EU has agreed to expel some Russian banks from the Swift financial communication system, close the airspace to Russian planes – including private jets – ban the broadcasts of Russia Today and Sputnik and finance the shipment of weapons of Ukraine, something unprecedented in the EU: the 27 have agreed 450 million euros in weapons for Ukraine, plus 50 million euros for non-weapon supplies such as fuel, the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, announced this Sunday.

Borrell: “We are going to provide fighters”

“We are going to provide weapons, not only ammunition, but also fighter planes”, said the High Representative: “And we must also add what each country sends on its own, as what Germany has said recently, in the sense that not only not going to help Ukraine but to provide for a significant increase in German defense means. Many Member States have understood that if they want to avoid war they have to put all the means to maintain independence”.

“We are organizing the emergency delivery of defensive military equipment,” said the President of the European Council, Charles Michel: “Weapons, ammunition, missiles and fuel are on their way. We are also providing a significant amount of money and humanitarian assistance.”

All this, in four days and hand in hand with the US, UK, Canada and Australia. As Borrell has recalled, half of the reserves of the Central Bank of Russia, which are going to be frozen, are in G7 countries.

“This is a decisive moment for Europe”, said Borrell, “it is our opportunity to act united and quickly, it is the opportunity to show what the EU is and what we want the EU to be, because the challenges will continue to increase and we have to be prepared for future generations.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the conflict, Vladimir Putin has decided this Sunday to put the Russian nuclear deterrence forces on alert. He has done it through a televised message of his interview with the Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigú, and the Chief of the General Staff, Valeri Gerasimov.

“Western countries are not only taking hostile economic measures against our country, but leaders of major NATO countries are making aggressive statements about our country,” Putin said. “That is why,” he said, “I am ordering the transfer of Russia’s deterrent forces to a special service regime.” Deterrence forces are based on the idea that, in the event of an attack, the opponent will be able to use all his force, including nuclear, to cause unacceptable damage, so it is assumed that neither party will initiate the offensive .

And what can happen? “What Mr. Putin may be thinking…” Borrell said: “Just thinking about using nuclear weapons is eloquent, it is so irresponsible that one cannot even imagine someone saying this, but he has said it, that anyone who interferes with their attack on Ukraine will suffer an attack like they could never have imagined. That is a reference to the use of nuclear weapons, so we will continue to support Ukraine. We are all aware of these threats.”

The head of European diplomacy, in addition, has defended the ban on Russia Today and Sputnik: “Why is it curious?” He questioned himself when asked by journalists: “We consider that they are sources of disinformation and brainwashing. We want to fight that and we’re going to do it.”

In that siege of the Kremlin, Turkey announced this Sunday that it will apply article 19 of the Montreux Convention and will prohibit the passage of Russian military ships from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. “The Montreux Convention governs the passage of military ships and Turkey has applied it meticulously until today. Article 19 is very clear,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu said in an interview on CNNTürk.

Article 19 of the treaty, signed in 1936, prohibits the passage through the Dardanelles Strait and the Bosporus of military ships of powers involved in a war.

“Since the Russian attack we have evaluated the matter with experts, soldiers, jurists. This has become a war. It is not a military movement, it is a full-fledged war,” the minister assured. It is the first time since World War II, in which Turkey was also neutral, that Ankara has announced the application of Article 19, which governs the conditions of passage in times of war, reports EFE

refuge and asylum

If wars leave anything, besides death and destruction, they are people who flee for their lives after having lost everything else. According to UNHCR data, the diaspora is already approaching 400,000 people. Some bordering countries have already declared their willingness to take in those fleeing war, but the EU is agreeing on a common position to respond to the crisis.

“President Zelensky’s leadership and his bravery and the resilience of the Ukrainian people are outstanding and impressive. They are an inspiration to all of us,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen: “We welcome those Ukrainians who have to flee from Putin’s bombs and I am proud of the warm reception they have received from Europeans. We are mobilizing every effort and every euro to support our Eastern Member States to welcome and care for these refugees. We will in full solidarity.”

In this sense, the EU interior ministers, meeting this Sunday afternoon in Brussels, have largely supported the activation of the European directive for temporary protection for refugees, a mechanism to provide immediate protection against massive arrivals of displaced persons due to of wars or disasters and that allows these people not to remain in a limbo while their asylum request is resolved.

As explained by the European Commissioner for the Interior, Ylva Johansson, the Community Executive will present a proposal for the activation of this directive on Thursday at 27.

“We are witnessing what may be the biggest humanitarian catastrophe on European soil for many years,” says the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, Janez Lenarcic.