Press statement by President von der Leyen on Russia’s aggression against Ukraine
February 24, 2022
Early this morning, Russian troops invaded Ukraine, a free and sovereign country. Once again, in the centre of Europe, innocent women, men and children are dying or fear for their lives. 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.
Later today, we will present a package of massive and targeted sanctions, to European Leaders for approval. 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. 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.