Brussels, 23 February 2022
Tensions between Ukraine and Russia are at their highest in years, with a Russian troop build-up near the two nations’ borders spurring fears that Moscow could launch an invasion. The current crisis has been provoked by an ongoing Russian military build-up in and around Ukraine, as well as the destabilising use of hybrid attacks, including disinformation and cyber-attacks, on Ukrainian government institutions.
This week, EU Member States have given their political agreement for a new package of sanctions against Russia, after Putin’s decision to recognise the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk and sending troops to these areas. This decision violates the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. Russia is not respecting its international obligations, and it is violating core principles of international law.
UEF welcomes the EU’s package of sanctions. We stand with Ukraine and its citizens and reaffirm unequivocal support to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. Ukraine is a free and sovereign country and the EU must continue to stand by its side.
We must act on a double track: the first one, the one related to the urgency, to respond with sanctions to Putin and pursue the diplomatic option. If the EU pursues and increases the sanctions, a compensation mechanism must be created in favour of the affected EU firms.
At the same time, in parallel, we must take steps forward on the military and energy autonomy of Europe. A federal EU whose foreign policy was not subject to individual veto threats would be more effective. This new crisis is an opportunity for the EU to become more mature, sovereign and an independent global actor, who act rapidly and robustly whenever a crisis erupts, with partners if possible and alone when necessary. We are eagerly awaiting the EU’s new Strategic Compass document – now needed more urgently than ever – and a follow up on the Conference on the Future of Europe conclusions that might lead to a more democratic, sovereign and stronger EU in the world.