European Council condemns Russian aggression, supports Ukraine

European Council condemns Russian aggression, supports Ukraine

The European Council has issued conclusions on Ukraine, in which the EU leaders condemned Russia's war of aggression and expressed strong support for Ukraine, its people and political leadership in their fight against an unprovoked Russian invasion.

That's according to European Council conclusions on Ukraine published on the website of the European Council, Ukrinform reports.

"The European Council resolutely condemns Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. It urges Russia to immediately stop its indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, and to immediately and unconditionally withdraw all its troops and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders. The atrocities being committed by Russian forces and the suffering and destruction being inflicted are unspeakable," the document said.

The EU leaders stressed that Russia must allow immediate humanitarian access and the safe passage of all civilians concerned. The European Council expects international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war, to be fully respected. It also calls on Russia to immediately allow the safe return of Ukrainian individuals forcibly removed to Russia.

"The European Council hails the courage and determination of the Ukrainian people and its leadership in their fight to defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and freedom of their country. The European Union is unwavering in its commitment to help Ukraine exercise its inherent right of self-defence against the Russian aggression and build a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future. In this regard, it will continue to work closely with international partners," the document reads.

In a separate section of their conclusions, European leaders noted the need to investigate war crimes committed in Ukraine by Russian invaders and the inevitability of prosecuting all those responsible for these atrocities.

"The European Council commends all those helping to gather evidence and to investigate war crimes and the other most serious crimes, and supports the intensive work of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in this respect. It also salutes the work being carried out by Ukraine’s Prosecutor General with financial and capacity-building support from the European Union and its Member States. It welcomes the establishment of a Joint Investigation Team coordinated by Eurojust, whose role has been reinforced, and the ongoing operational support provided by Europol. Russia, Belarus and all those responsible will be held to account for their actions in accordance with international law," the conclusions read.

In a section of the document on EU sanctions against aggressor countries, the European Council reaffirmed its commitment to intensify pressure on Russia and Belarus to thwart Russia's war against Ukraine. The European Council called on all countries to align with EU sanctions. Any attempts to circumvent sanctions or to aid Russia by other means must be stopped.

The European Council agreed that the sixth package of sanctions against Russia will cover crude oil, as well as petroleum products, delivered from Russia into Member States, with a temporary exception for crude oil delivered by pipeline.

The European Council urged the Council to finalise and adopt such sanctions without delay, ensuring a well-functioning EU Single Market, fair competition, solidarity among Member States and a level playing field also with regard to the phasing out of our dependency on Russian fossil fuels. In case of sudden interruptions of supply, emergency measures will be introduced to ensure security of supply. In this respect, the Commission will monitor and report regularly to the Council on the implementation of these measures to ensure a level playing field in the EU Single Market and security of supply.

According to the conclusions, the European Council will revert to the issue of the temporary exception for crude oil delivered by pipeline as soon as possible.

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