The reaction from the European Union’s directly elected representatives to Russia’s all-out military attack on Ukraine by land, air and sea has been swift and unequivocal.
European Parliament President Roberta Metsola tweeted in the early hours of Thursday - shortly after what the Kremlin called “a special military operation” against Ukraine - had begun:
The Parliament’s political leadership, the Conference of Presidents, met at 09:00 and agreed to hold an emergency plenary session in Brussels on Tuesday 1 March. The move was announced by the president of the S&D Group, Iratxe García Pérez.
European Council President, Charles Michel meanwhile announced an emergency meeting of the Council as well as of the G7 leaders later today.
The EU had already started on finalising a new package of sanctions against Russia after President Vladimir Putin’s speech on Monday, where he recognised the so-called “Peoples’ Republics” in Ukraine’s east and ordering troops there.
Diplomats briefed journalists on Wednesday on last minute negotiations among EU Member States about the scope of the measures and possible exceptions but in the face of the war being waged, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the EU executive would present a package of “massive, targeted sanctions” today.
The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, added that EU leaders will adopt the measures “swiftly”, also adding a link to a joint statement of the Council and Commission presidents.
The European Parliament’s political groups condemned Russia’s aggression and called for European unity and solidarity with Ukraine.
The EPP, the largest political group tweeted:
Parliament’s spokesperson Jaume Duch published a joint statement of all political group leaders shortly before midday.