EU To Supply Weapons To Ukraine, Block Russian Aircraft And Kremlin-Backed Media

The plans to purchase and deliver weapons would be a first by the 27-nation bloc.
The European Union said it will work to ban the Kremlin-backed media outlet RT and the Sputnik news agency.
The European Union said it will work to ban the Kremlin-backed media outlet RT and the Sputnik news agency.
LIONEL BONAVENTURE via Getty Images

The European Union has announced plans to purchase weapons for Ukraine, close its entire airspace to Russian aircraft, and ban two Kremlin-backed media outlets throughout the 27-nation bloc in an effort to rid “toxic and harmful disinformation in Europe,” the EU’s chief said Sunday.

“This is a watershed moment,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said while outlining the union’s efforts to deter Russian violence and support the Ukrainian people amid the ongoing assault launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The weapons’ planned purchase and delivery to a country under attack would be a first for the EU.

“So let me be very clear, our airspace will be closed to every Russian plane and that includes the private jets of oligarchs too,” she said of the first of several tactics being rolled out.

Plans are also underway to ban RT, formerly known as Russia Today, and Sputnik state media, said von der Leyen, who slammed both as part of the “Kremlin’s media machine.”

Both outlets “will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin’s war and to saw division in our union,” she said. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the ban will be strictly on television broadcasts or on the internet as well.

The EU’s decision to supply Ukraine with military arms is a major turning point for the union, which had at times been split on how to respond to Russia’s aggression.

European Commission President von der Leyen (left) and Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell (right) hold a joint press conference on Sunday announcing additional measures responding to Russia's attacks on Ukraine.
European Commission President von der Leyen (left) and Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell (right) hold a joint press conference on Sunday announcing additional measures responding to Russia's attacks on Ukraine.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

It follows other Western countries stepping up their own military aid in recent days. President Joe Biden on Saturday instructed the U.S. State Department to free up an additional $350 million worth of weapons for Ukraine. The U.S. has already committed more than $1 billion in security assistance to Ukraine over the past year, said Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Germany on Saturday also reversed its long-standing policy of not sending weapons to conflict zones.

Russia’s invasion “marks a turning point,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said while announcing his decision.

“It threatens our entire post-war order. In this situation, it is our duty to do our utmost to support Ukraine in defending itself against Vladimir Putin’s invading army. Germany stands closely by Ukraine’s side,” he said in a statement.

Scholz’s decision didn’t affect only Germany’s weapons contribution but other countries’ as well.

Estonia had last month requested to send weapons to Ukraine that had been previously owned by Germany and Finland, but under international law, the Baltic state had to get permission from both countries to do so.

Though the U.S. State Department cleared Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to send U.S.-made missiles and other weapons to Ukraine, Germany’s government had refused, as The Wall Street Journal reported.

Popular in the Community

Close

What's Hot