EU Blocks Russian Planes From Airspace, Finances Lethal and Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine

February 28, 2022Joshua Skovlund
moscow airport

Commercial aircraft on the tarmac at Moscow airport. Stock photo via Unsplash.

Amid a slew of international sanctions and restrictions, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, announced Sunday, Feb. 27, that all Russian aircraft — private, military, and commercial — would be restricted from entering European Union airspace. 

“Our airspace will be closed to every Russian plane — and that includes the private jets of oligarchs,” von der Leyen said. 

In addition, the commission plans to ban Russian-owned media such as Russia Today, Sputnik, and their subsidiaries. Von der Leyen said the state-owned outlets “will no longer be able to spread their lies” in attempts to justify the invasion into Ukraine.

The European Union is adding sanctions against Belarus and its president, Alexander Lukashenko. Calling Belarus “the other aggressor in this war,” von der Leyen said Belarus would no longer be able to export products including mineral fuels, tobacco, timber, cement, iron, and steel. 

The commission is extending the same dual-use goods restrictions to Belarus that have already been applied to Russia. 

“This will also avoid any risks of circumvention of our measures against Russia,” von der Leyen said.

Besides these new restrictions, the EU will for the first time finance the purchase and delivery of weapons and other equipment to a country that is under attack. According to The Associated Press, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced 500 million euros, about $557 million, of both lethal and nonlethal assistance to Ukraine’s armed forces. 

The announcement comes the same day Russian President Vladimir Putin put his nuclear deterrence force on high alert. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told CNN’s State of the Union that Putin’s move “adds to the seriousness of the situation,” calling it “dangerous rhetoric.” 

Read Next: Ukraine Agrees to Peace Talks, Putin Orders Nuclear Deterrent Forces on Alert

Joshua Skovlund
Joshua Skovlund

Joshua Skovlund is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die. He covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. After five years as in paramedicine, he transitioned to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children.

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