Remarks by President Michel at the joint press conference with Commission President von der Leyen and NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg

European UnionEuropean Union

Last night a cataclysm shook Europe. Brutal aggression triggered by Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin against human beings. A large-scale military attack on the Ukrainian people.

This unprovoked and unjustified attack is unlike anything on European soil since the end of the Second World War. It is an attack on the free and sovereign state of Ukraine and its territorial integrity, a blatant violation of international law, replacing the rule of law with the rule of brutality. An attack on peace and security in Europe, it is also an attack on the foundations of our European Union, a project of peace and prosperity for all Europeans. The EU and its member states, together with our allies, will hold Russia accountable.

The European Council will convene today. We will agree in principle a package of massive and targeted sanctions. We will also decide on political, financial and humanitarian aid for Ukraine and its people. Ukrainian cities have been hit, innocent people killed. Women, men, and children are fleeing for their lives. They need our strong support more than ever.

We will also discuss the geopolitical, economic and human implications of this aggression against Ukraine. I do not believe that Russian people want war. You do not want to lose young men to a senseless war with a brother nation, serving as cannon fodder for an unjustified, unlawful and foolish war.

I also appeal to Belarus and its people. You have the choice not to follow Russia’s destructive action. You have the choice not to take part in this needless tragedy against your neighbours in Ukraine.

We, the European Union, stand rock solid. United, firm and determined, together with NATO, together with our allies, partners and friends, to hold Russia accountable, to support Ukraine and to protect peace in Europe. We stand shoulder to shoulder with all the countries across the world that want to uphold the rules-based international order for the sake of peace.