- A top European official said Russia “manufactured” the crisis in Ukraine.
- The European Commission head said Russia is also “responsible” for the latest escalations.
- Ursula von der Leyen said the organization is working to finalize a sanctions package.
The European Commission president said Russia “manufactured” the crisis in Ukraine and is “responsible’ for its latest escalation.
“Russia is not respecting its international obligations and it is violating core principles of international law,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at a press conference on Tuesday.
She added: “Russia has manufactured this crisis and is responsible for the current escalation.”
Her remarks came shortly after Russian lawmakers approved President Vladimir Putin’s request to use military force abroad, just one day after he ordered troops into Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.
Von der Leyen said the European Commission is working to finalize a sanctions package, which contains a number of “calibrated measures” meant as a “clear response” to Moscow’s actions.
She said the sanctions will target individuals and companies involved in Russia’s latest escalation, but did not elaborate further.
Von der Leyen also said will target banks that finance the Russian military, ban trade between the two breakaway and European Union regions, and limit regions of Russia’s ability to raise capital on the EU’s financial markets.
“We will make it as difficult as possible for the Kremlin to pursue its aggressive actions,” von der Leyen said.
Josep Borrell-Fontellesthe EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security police, said an EU sanctions package will target over 350 members of Russia’s lower house who voted for recognition of two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine.
Von der Leyen also praised German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s decision to halt certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would bring Russian natural gas to Europe.
The decision to halt the pipeline was praised by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who said the US “will be following up with our own measures today.”
“If Russia continues to escalate this crisis that it has created, we are ready to take further action in response,” she said. “The European Union is united and acting fast.”
President Joe Biden on Monday slapped sanctions on eastern Ukraine’s Russia-backed separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Meanwhile, the UK sanctioned five Russian banks and three individuals in what Prime Minister Boris Johnson referred to as the “first barrage.”
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.