European Union shuts airspace to Russian airlines, will fund weapons for Ukraine

Russia-Ukraine conflict: EU top official Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc will ban “the state-owned Russia Today and Sputnik, as well as their subsidiaries”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin

New Delhi: The 27-nation bloc of the European Union (EU) will shut its airspace to Russian airlines, fund supplies of weapons to war-hit Ukraine and ban some pro-Moscow media outlets in response to the Kremlin’s move to invade its neighbour.

The European Union’s move came amid the United States and several European nations’ decision to cut key Russian banks from the SWIFT international financial banking system.

Hours ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin placed the country’s nuclear deterrent forces on a “special” alert in the face of the West “aggression”.

Ukraine has agreed to hold talks with Russia “without preconditions” along the Belarusian border after Moscow earlier demanded Kyiv’s military lay down their arms before negotiations could begin.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Sunday that “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”.

“We are shutting down the EU airspace for Russians. We are proposing a prohibition on all Russian-owned, Russian registered or Russian-controlled aircraft. These aircraft will no more be able to land in, take off or overfly the territory of the EU,” the top EU official said.

She added the EU will ban “the Kremlin’s media machine. The state-owned 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.”

Von der Leyen added that the European Union will also target Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko for supporting Russia’s widespread military campaign in Ukraine.

“We will hit Lukashenko’s regime with a new package of sanctions,” she said.

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