Updated Feb 27, 2022 - World

EU bans Russian aircraft, state media in sweeping new sanctions

European Commission President von der Leyen
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced Sunday that the European Union will ban all "Russian-owned, Russian registered or Russian-controlled aircraft," including the private jets of oligarchs, from its airspace, as well as Russian state media.

Why it matters: The announcement comes on the fourth day of Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and builds off of efforts over the past several days by individual European countries to take similar measures.

Details: "They won’t be able to land in, take off or overfly the territory of the EU,   including the private jets of oligarchs," von der Leyen said of Russian aircraft.

  • "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 added. "We are developing tools to ban their toxic and harmful disinformation in Europe."
  • The EU will also introduce sanctions against the regime of Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko, who has allowed Russia to use its territory to launch attacks against Ukraine.
  • "We will introduce restrictive measures against their most important sectors," von der Leyen said, explaining this would affect their exports of mineral fuels, tobacco, wood and steel, among others.
  • Belarusians "helping the Russian war effort" will also be sanctioned, she noted.

Of note: "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. This is a watershed moment," von der Leyen added.

  • "We're strengthening once more our sanctions against the Kremlin and its collaborator, Lukashenko's regime."
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy's "leadership and his bravery and the resilience of the Ukrainian people are outstanding and impressive. They are an inspiration for all of us."
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