The EU has announced on Sunday that it will be taking the unprecedented step of financing weapons to Ukraine. The provisions are set to amount to around €500 million in arms to the Ukrainians. This comes with new sanctions against Russia and Belarus for helping in the invasion of Ukraine. The European Union has also closed its airspace to Russian aircrafts and banned Russian state media outlets broadcasting in the bloc. On its part, Malta will not be providing lethal equipment.
However, foreign affairs minister Evarist Bartolo said that as a neutral country, Malta will be supporting the efforts with humanitarian aid which consists of providing medicines to the invaded country.
We are stepping up our support for Ukraine.
For the first time, the EU will finance the purchase and delivery of weapons and equipment to a country under attack.
We are also strengthening our sanctions against the Kremlin.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) February 27, 2022
Bartolo revealed that Malta agreed with the EU measures announced earlier which include cutting some Russian banks out of the SWIFT interbank messaging network, the banning of transactions with Russia’s central bank as well as adding restrictions on Russian oligarchs. With Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also sanctioned, the measures added up to the toughest position the EU has taken against any country.
In a broadcast address, EU Chief Ursula von der Leyen said that as as the war in Ukraine rages on and Ukrainians fight for their country, ’the European Union steps up once more its support for Ukraine and the sanctions against the aggressor – Putin’s Russia.’ The sanctions also target Russian state media outlets Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik, with von der Leyen saying that they will no longer be able to spread their lies to justify Putin’s war and to sow division within the union.
Sanctions will be targeting Belarus and its leader Alexander Lukashenko as well for aiding the Russians. Restrictive measures will affect the country’s mineral, fuels, tobacco and steel sectors.