Ursula von der Leyen throws down gauntlet to Putin: EU ready for unprecedented measures

Russia: Nuclear strike would turn Germany into a wasteland

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Speaking to MEPs in the European Parliament, the EU Commission leader said the bloc was ready to respond to further threats posed by Russia against Ukraine. Calling on Vladimir Putin to respect international commitments, she said: “We have made it very clear: further aggressive acts against Ukraine will have massive costs for Russia.

“In June the European Council has tasked us to come up with options and since then we have been working on this in close cooperation with the United States and other partners.

“We are prepared.

“There’s a whole set of economic sanctions in place, targeting the financial and energy sectors, towards goods and defence.

“A response to any further aggression may take the form of a robust scaling up of these existing sanctions and of course we are ready to take additional and unprecedented measures with serious consequences for Russia.

“But above all, I call on Russia to de-escalate, to pursue diplomatic channels and to abide by its international commitment.

“Conflict must be solved peacefully.”

The EU chief also said that Russia’s squeezing of Moldova’s gas supplies is a “blatant attempt” by Moscow to intimidate Moldova’s reformist government.

She added that the European Union wanted good relations with Russia, but this depended first and foremost on Russia’s behaviour, referring initially to its military build-up on Ukraine’s border.

She said: “We also see the blatant attempt to intimidate Moldova’s reformist government by squeezing them on gas-supplies at a time of high energy prices.

“We must protect our societies and democracies from this kind of cynical geopolitical power play.”

More to follow…

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