With each passing day, the EU takes steps in response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. If this Saturday the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced the expulsion of the Swift financial transmission system of some Russian banks, as well as the freezing of the assets of the Central Bank of Russia outside its borders, this Sunday it is producing an escalation of European countries announcing the closure of their airspace to Russian planes, a measure that can be generalized throughout the EU this Sunday afternoon after the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the 27.
Last minute on the Russian invasion in Ukraine, live
Belgium, for example, has announced the measure this Sunday morning, as Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo tweeted: “Our European skies are open skies. They are open for those who connect people, not for those who seek to brutally attack.” .
Thus, Russian airlines face an almost total blockade of the airspace to the west of the country. Finland, which borders Russia, Denmark and Austria, has also announced this Sunday that it will apply bans; This Saturday, it was announced by Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia, Lithuania and Romania, in addition to Bulgaria, Poland and the Czech Republic.
The UK and Ireland have also announced restrictions on Russian aircraft, including private jets.
European coordination of arms shipments
This Sunday afternoon a new meeting of EU foreign ministers is held, by videoconference, in which the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, announced: “I will propose to the ministers the use of the European Fund for Peace for two emergency aid measures: to finance the supply of military equipment to the heroic Ukrainian army, which is fighting with fierce resistance against the Russian invaders, and to provide urgently needed supplies, such as fuel.”
The High Representative’s proposal is in response to a direct request made by Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Friday during his speech to EU foreign ministers.
Borrell will thus propose to provide a measure made up of military equipment, such as ammunition, and a measure for non-military equipment and supplies to the Ukrainian army, such as fuel and urgent medical supplies.
The foreign ministers of the 27 “will also discuss the announcement of economic sanctions made this Saturday night by several countries and the European Commission, such as the exclusion of a certain number of Russian banks from Swift, preventing the Central Bank of Russia deploy its international reserves and acting against individuals and entities that facilitate the war in Ukraine and the harmful activities of the Russian government”, explains the EU External Action Service: “The debate will pave the way for the rapid adoption of all acts legal requirements”.
In addition, Borrell will also present a series of possible additional measures “to provide assistance to the people of Ukraine in the face of senseless aggression by Russia.” Thus, the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, Janez Lenarčič, “will provide information on EU humanitarian aid to Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees in neighboring countries.”
This Sunday afternoon the EU interior ministers also meet to address the refugee crisis that the Russian invasion of Ukraine may cause.
Some bordering countries have already declared their willingness to take in those fleeing war, but the EU hopes to agree on a common position to respond to the crisis.