The European Union announced Friday that it would unveil its 10th package of sanctions against Russia on February 24, marking one year since Moscow invaded its sovereign neighbor, Ukraine.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told reporters that sanctions’ targets would include Russia’s war machine, particularly components used in the manufacturing of drones. She called out Iran as a key supplier of drones to Russia.
The announcement took place during a visit to Kyiv by EU leaders for an annual EU-Ukraine summit. This year’s meeting, however, was the first to take place since Ukraine has become an official candidate to join the European Union along with Moldova, against whom Russia has also been rattling its sabers.
“Our presence in Kyiv today gives a very clear signal. The whole of the European Union is in this with Ukraine for the long haul, and we will stand up for Ukraine as we stand up for fundamental rights and respect for international law,” said Von der Leyen.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that progress had been made to further integrate Ukraine economically into the EU across several sectors, including agriculture, industry, energy and customs.
Following a pledge last week of tanks to Ukraine from several NATO nations including the U.S., Zelensky also used the summit to step up calls for his allies to deliver long-range weapons, to help repel Russian forces in the city of Bakhmut and much of the eastern Donbas region.
In recent days, Ukraine has escalated requests for American-made F-16 fighter jets, although U.S. and allied officials have said those would be impractical as they require considerable training and because Russia has anti-aircraft systems that could easily shoot them down.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister has said its forces are bracing for an expected new offensive, as some 500,000 Russian troops have amassed on the eastern border.
Ukraine’s forces “have a chance” of beating back the looming offensive if supplied with the right Western weapons, Zelensky said Friday.
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