EC President von der Leyen speaks after Russia’s attack on Ukraine in Brussels

Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool via REUTERS

The EU announced it will supply Ukraine with weapons, while also strengthening sanctions against Russia. Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Union Commission, said the EU also will ban all Russian aircraft.It will also ban state-owned Russian media outlets including Russia Today and Sputnik. For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

The European Union on Sunday said it will purchase and deliver weapons to Ukraine, while also strengthening sanctions against Russia including closing its airspace to Russian planes and banning state-owned Russian media.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Union Commission, called the effort a “watershed moment” in an announcement on Sunday.

“The European Union steps up once more its support for Ukraine and the sanctions against the aggressor that is Putin’s Russia,” Leyen said. “For the first time ever, the European Union will finance the purchase and delivery of weapons and other equipment to a country that is under attack.”

The bans and strengthened sanctions come as global support for Ukraine intensifies in response to ongoing attacks following Russia’s invasion of the country on Thursday.

On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin put Russia’s nuclear deterrent forces on high alert in response to “illegitimate Western sanctions.”

Leyen further explained the details for the EU’s airspace ban, which will include a “prohibition on all Russian-owned, Russian-registered, and Russian-controlled aircraft” from taking off, landing, or flying over the territory.

“This will apply to any plane, owned, chartered, or otherwise controlled by a Russian legal or natural person,” she said. “Let me be very clear, our airspace will be closed to every Russian plane and that includes the private jets of oligarchs, too.”

In what Leyen called an “unprecedented step” for the EU, the organisation is also banning state-owned Russian media outlets and is creating tools “to ban the toxic and harmful disinformation in Europe.”

“Russia Today and Sputnik, as well as their subsidiaries, will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin’s war and to sow division in our union,” Leyen said.