EC condemns Russia’s aggression against Ukraine

The European Commission condemned Russia’s aggression against Ukraine as a violation of international law and Russia’s international obligations.

EC President Ursula von der Leyen declared Moscow’s decision to recognise the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as “illegal and completely unacceptable”, adding that the same applied to the deployment of troops to these regions.

“Russia is not respecting its international obligations and it is violating core principles of international law”, she said, stating that Russia “has manufactured this crisis and is responsible for the current escalation.”

Von der Leyen made it clear that the EU would soon finalise sanctions against Russia and that it was continuing to coordinate with its partners.

The sanctions would “directly target individuals and companies involved in these actions”, including the “banks that finance the Russian military apparatus and contribute to the destabilisation of Ukraine”, she promised.

“We are also banning trade between the two breakaway regions and the EU”, as had been done after “the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014″, she continued, stressing that the EU would limit Moscow’s access to EU’s financial markets.

Von der Leyen also warned that the EU is prepared to take further action against Russia if Moscow continues to escalate the crisis.

Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, also condemned Russia’s latest moves. Recognising the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk was illegal, and undermined Ukraine’s independence and sovereignty, he said. Moreover, it was a violation of “the Minsk agreements, which stipulate the full return of these areas to the control of the Ukrainian government.”

The Russian move amounted to “a severe breach of international law and international agreements, including the UN Charter, Helsinki Final Act, Paris Charter and Budapest Memorandum.” The EU and its partners would respond to the violations with “additional restrictive measures, including on all economic relations with the non-governmental controlled areas, as well as designations against individuals and entities responsible for undermining the territorial integrity of Ukraine”, he said.

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