EU closes airspace to Russian planes, will supply arms to Ukraine

EU closes airspace to Russian planes, will supply arms to Ukraine

The European Union will close its airspace to Russian planes, fund weapons supplies to Ukraine and ban pro-Kremlin media outlets, the bloc’s top official announced on Sunday. 

“We are shutting down EU airspace for Russian-owned, Russian-registered or Russian-controlled aircraft,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at a news conference.

Russian planes, including private jets of oligarchs, will “no more be able to land in, take off, or overfly the territory of the EU,” she said.

“For the first time, the EU will finance the purchase and delivery of weapons and equipment to a country under attack,” the top EU official said, hailing it as a “watershed moment.”

Von der Leyen said new measures against Moscow will also see a ban on “the Kremlin’s media machine in the EU.”

“The state-owned Russia Today and Sputnik, and their subsidiaries, will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin’s war,” she said.

Also read: Russia closes its airspace to British airlines

“We are developing tools to ban their toxic and harmful disinformation in Europe.”

Labeling Belarus as “the other aggressor in this war,” she said the EU will target President Alexander Lukashenko’s “regime with a new package of sanctions, hitting their most important sectors.”

“All these measures come on top of the strong package presented yesterday, agreed by our international partners,” she added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine on Thursday, days after recognizing two separatist-held enclaves in eastern Ukraine.

He claimed that Moscow had no plan to occupy its neighbor, but wanted to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine.

Western powers have imposed financial sanctions on Moscow, and decided to supply Ukraine with weapons and ammunition.

At least 368,000 Ukrainians have fled the country since the beginning of the attack, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

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