EU Delivers Weapons to Ukraine

European Union announces delivery of weapons to Ukraine, new sanctions on Russia.

The European Union said it would spend €500 million on weapons and equipment for Ukraine.  For the first time in its history, the European Union will purchase weapons for a country under attack, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.  In a meeting on Sunday, the EU foreign minister agreed to budget €500 million ($564 million) for weapons and equipment for Ukraine.  In addition, Poland agreed to work as a logistic hub for the delivery of weapons.  She also said EU airspace would be closed to Russia-owned, registered, or controlled aircraft, explicitly mentioning that the ban would apply to “the private jets of oligarchs.”

Additionally, von der Leyen announced the 27-member bloc would take steps to stop “the Kremlin’s media machine in the EU” by banning state-owned Russia Today, Sputnik, and their subsidiaries.  “We are developing tools to ban their toxic and harmful disinformation in Europe,” she said.  EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the move was aimed at “turning off the tap for Russia’s disinformation in Europe.”  In addition to the measures against Russia, von der Leyen added that the EU agreed to sanction Russia’s ally Belarus, which she called “the other aggressor in this war.”  In a message to the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing Ukraine, von der Leyen said they would be welcomed with “open arms.”

Kyiv and Moscow have sent envoys to peace talks on the Belarus border.  Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he was willing to “try” talks with Russia but added he is “skeptical” they will lead to a ceasefire.  “I will be honest, as always: I do not really believe in the outcome of this meeting, but let them try,” Zelenskyy said in a video statement.  However, if there was a “chance” to end the war, he should take part in the talks, he added.