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EU holds emergency summit after Russia attacks Ukraine

Hello this dark morning, after Russian Vladimir Putin Just ordered A full-scale military invasion of Ukraine and demanded the surrender of Kiev, which may be the largest conflict in Europe since World War II.

The United States, Britain, the European Union and NATO have condemned the move dedicated To give an account to the Kremlin. US President Joe Biden spoke with Vladimir Zalansky of Ukraine and Tweeted on Twitter That “allies and partners will impose severe sanctions on Russia,” with a G7 meeting scheduled for later in the day. NATO allies will also meet today, said Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, “to deal with the consequences of Russia’s aggressive actions” and “to do whatever it takes to protect and defend the Allies.”

Later tonight, EU leaders will meet in person in Brussels, with a far-reaching round of sanctions likely after the bloc adopted First round in record time yesterday. God European Council May also signal further aid to Ukraine, as many capitals have already promised bilateral aid.

One example is ItalyFor a long time on the fence in light of the economic damage that will be caused by a war of sanctions with Moscow, which yesterday said it would send financial and non-lethal aid to Ukraine.

We will also explore how Hungary – Notoriously skeptical about sanctions and intended for the benefit of the Kremlin – also aligned itself with its allies in the EU and what it is doing to prepare for the full war in neighboring Ukraine.

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Dealing with Russia

The EU is convening today to discuss its response to Putin’s decision to launch a full-scale war, after quickly pushing a first package of targeted punishments following Russia’s initial moves to recognize Ukraine’s two separate republics. Sam Fleming Valentina Pop in Brussels.

“We strongly condemn Russia’s unjustified attack on Ukraine,” Tweeted on Twitter European Council President Charles Michelle added that “we will hold the Kremlin accountable,” a message echoed by many EU officials and leaders.

The emergency summit – scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. – will have to go far beyond symbolism, while leaders are debating the huge security crisis facing the continent.

Ambassadors from the bloc will gather this morning to make preparations for the European Council. The meeting tonight will last much longer than the hour discussion Before the EU-Africa summit a week ago, one EU official predicted.

There remains no doubt that when it comes to the next round, much more punitive, of EU sanctions the decision could falter in the face of the package’s painful consequences. But diplomats emphasize the unusual skill the EU showed in the first package, quickly expanding the range of steps relatively late after it became clear that the Russians not only recognize the two territories controlled by the separatists in Donbas, but plan to send troops. .

And the advantage of the planning months that went into the broader package is that the EU member states are well aware of what the steps are, and have had ample opportunity to voice their anxieties.

The sanctions will include far-reaching restrictions on the Russian financial sector, a blacklist of a number of people in business and government, and extensive export controls aimed at stifling the country’s high-tech industries. When it comes to export controls, the measures have been carefully planned to focus on products that Russia will have a hard time finding elsewhere – including in China.

Nevertheless, the member states are prepared for considerable economic pain as a result, with Germany expected to be the most severely affected.

Michelle’s letter to the leaders yesterday stated that the issue tonight is not only how to “deal with Russia”, but also how to help the Ukrainian people. This means exploring ways to support the economy and also preparing for the prospect of about a million refugees leaving Ukraine.

Poland will face the highest burden of any large influx of people. Unfortunately, discussions between member states and the European Commission on how to support Warsaw – and the other member states on the front lines of any refugee exit – seem far less advanced than on ways to punish Russia for its actions.

Chart of the day: Expensive debt

U.S. and EU sanctions banning new Russian bond trading could raise Moscow’s lending costs even further and ultimately shut down Western investors from the country’s debt market. (More here)

Italian support

As tensions in Ukraine escalate this week, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has tried to maintain a low profile – and a moderate tone, writes Amy Casmin in Rome.

Italy’s heavy reliance on Russian gas (40% of its gas imports) – and its luxury and tourism industries’ dependence on advanced Russian customers – means the country will be among the worst hit in Europe by widespread economic sanctions. And steps against potential Russians.

No wonder, then, that while Draghi condemned Moscow’s recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk parting zones as an “unacceptable violation of Ukrainian sovereignty” on Tuesday, he still expressed hope for a “peace solution” that could “avoid war in the heart of Ukraine”. Europe”.

Italy is now moving to show its solidarity with the Ukrainian public – and with its allies in the EU.

Luigi di Mayo, Italy’s foreign minister, told parliament that Rome would allocate 110 million euros to support the Ukrainians and their economy, with details on how the money would be decided in cooperation with the government in Kiev.

He also told parliament that Rome would send “non-lethal” military aid, such as mine clearance equipment, to Ukraine. “We must give a clear signal of solidarity to the Ukrainian people,” Di Mayo tweeted.

Hungarian preparations

The Hungarian government has begun to fortify the country’s eastern border with Ukraine, in anticipation of an armed conflict in the neighboring country that could spread west, writes Merton Donai in Budapest.

Criticized for a long time for building a pleasant relationship with Russia and raise Opposition to new sanctions against Moscow, Hungary has now aligned itself with Western allies (including on sanctions) and has made clear that it will support Western efforts to resolve the conflict.

Budapest will prefer a peaceful settlement but must recognize what is a state of war along the Russian-Ukrainian border, Hungarian Defense Minister Tibor Banco said on Tuesday, adding that the armed forces must be prepared for any event.

Government of Hungary said Earlier this month – unlike other countries along the eastern wing of NATO – it will defend its border and will not require additional NATO forces or equipment at this stage.

“Citizens have no reason to be afraid, but we must be careful and see the future,” Banco said at a news briefing. “If the conflict in eastern Ukraine spreads to western Ukraine, we must be able to close the Hungarian – Ukrainian border.”

“We must be able to ensure free passage for refugees wishing to leave Ukraine while preventing the entry of armed groups into Hungary,” he said. “To strengthen border protection, I ordered a military force with enough numbers and equipment to settle in eastern Hungary.”

The deployment was supposed to start immediately, he said.

Prime Minister Victor Urban on Tuesday called on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zlansky and told him that Budapest would support the joint efforts of the European Union to resolve the situation.

“Victor Urban assured Volodymyr Zlansky that Hungary, as before, would continue to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the Urban Press chief told Europe Express.

What to expect today

  1. EU leaders gather in Brussels for an emergency summit on Russia

  2. G7 leaders will actually meet in response to Russia’s attack

  3. NATO ambassadors meet in Brussels

Worth noting, quote

  • Gazprom Shrug: Russia is sure it can shake off Germany’s decision to halt approval of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and believes the EU’s efforts to diversify the bloc’s energy sources will fail, said three people close to the Kremlin and its government gas monopoly Gazprom.

  • Free fall of packers: Center-right presidential candidate Valery Packersa fell behind far-right candidates Marin Le Pen and Eric Zamor in opinion polls ahead of the April election. Follow FT’s survey follower Here.

  • Belgian sex work: The Belgian Parliament is in the process of repealing sex work from the Penal Code – a provision that dates back to the 19th century, VRT reports. Under current arrangements, prostitution is not prosecuted, but given the fact that their employment status is illegal, sex workers cannot enjoy Social Security or get a bank loan based on their earnings.

FT Online Seminar: Russia-Ukraine Conflict, What’s Next?

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