“Russia has decided to launch a brutal, savage war, based on despicable lies”, European Council President Charles Michel told the people of Ukraine people on Sunday, calling them “the innocent victims of this folly.”
He emphasised how it was the Kremlin and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin that were responsible for launching the war, and not the Russian people.
Michel lauded Ukrainians for their “brave and free choice of liberty, democracy and rule of law”, citing how they are “resisting fiercely and heroically.”
Highlighting how Ukrainians are defending land and dignity – “your freedom and your children… your integrity… your democracy”, as he put it, — Michel noted how these very values are also under attack throughout Europe.
The EU, he said, has the political and moral duty to step up and side with Ukraine, hence its support “with concrete and immediate action.” The EU and its partners have mobilised an international coalition to support Ukraine and stand in defence of international law. “We are organising the emergency delivery of defensive military equipment”, Michel said, pointing out that “guns, ammunition, rockets, and fuel are on their way to your troops.” In addition, there is the provision of “significant money and humanitarian assistance.”
Moreover, he cited the “unprecedented sanctions” imposed by the coalition against the Russian leadership that he said are also “targeting all the oligarchs who support them.” These sanctions would cut Moscow off from the international financial system and “severely cripple Russia’s ability to operate globally”, he promised, noting also that the EU has closed its airspace to Russian flights, and that there is more to come.
“We would prefer to solve this conflict through dialogue and negotiations”, Michel acknowledged, but the circumstances demand that “all those responsible for this war”, including all “who violate the law of war and international humanitarian law” must be held to account.
Michel said he is in contact with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, whose courage and composure he commended as reflecting the qualities of the Ukrainian people. He saluted Zelenskyy, Ukraine, and its people for “rising to this historic moment” with assurances that Europe stood firmly with them.