August 19, 2022

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BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s chief government says the 27-nation bloc will shut its airspace to Russian airways, fund provides of weapons to Ukraine and ban some pro-Kremlin media retailers in response to Russia’s invasion.

European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen stated Sunday that “for the primary time ever, the European Union will finance the acquisition and supply of weapons and different tools to a rustic that’s beneath assault.”

Von der Leyen added that “we’re shutting down the EU airspace for Russians. We’re proposing a prohibition on all Russian-owned, Russian registered or Russian-controlled plane. These plane will no extra be capable of land in, take off or overfly the territory of the EU.”

She stated additionally the EU will ban “the Kremlin’s media machine. The state-owned Russia Immediately and Sputnik, in addition to their subsidiaries, will not be capable of unfold their lies to justify Putin’s warfare and to sow division in our union.”

Von der Leyen added that the EU will even goal Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko for supporting Russia’s widespread army marketing campaign in Ukraine.

“We are going to hit Lukashenko’s regime with a brand new bundle of sanctions,” she stated.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows beneath.

BRUSSELS (AP) — In one of the vital shifts in European safety coverage in many years, Germany introduced Sunday it was committing 100 billion euros ($113 billion) to a particular armed forces fund and would preserve its protection spending above 2% of GDP any longer, a transfer introduced on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The announcement, which got here hours earlier than Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian nuclear forces placed on excessive alert, underscored how Russia’s warfare on Ukraine was rewriting Europe’s post-World Battle II safety coverage in ways in which have been unthinkable just a few weeks in the past.

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The German coverage shift additionally got here as Italy, France, Austria, Malta, Canada and Belgium joined different EU international locations in closing their airspace to Russian plane, carving up the skies over Europe.

Anti-war protesters, in the meantime, took to the streets in Berlin, Rome, Prague, Istanbul and different cities — even Russian cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg — to demand an finish to the warfare, the most important floor offensive on the continent since WWII.

Tens of 1000’s of individuals massed Sunday in entrance of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, with some carrying posters with slogans similar to “Arms off Ukraine,” “Tanks to Windmills” and “Putin, go to remedy and depart Ukraine and the world in peace.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s announcement of recent protection funding is important for Germany, which has come beneath criticism from america and different NATO allies for not investing adequately in its protection funds. NATO member states dedicated to spending 2% of their GDP on protection, however Germany has persistently spent a lot much less.

“It’s clear we have to make investments considerably extra within the safety of our nation, as a way to shield our freedom and our democracy,” Scholz informed a particular session of the Bundestag in Berlin.

Scholz stated the 100 billion euro fund was at present a one-time measure for 2022. It wasn’t instantly clear whether or not related funding could be allotted in future years. However Scholz indicated Germany will exceed the two% of GDP threshold going ahead, signaling an total future improve in protection spending.

A day earlier, Germany introduced one other main shift in coverage, saying it can ship weapons and different provides on to Ukraine, together with 500 Stinger missiles, that are used to shoot down helicopters and warplanes, and 1,000 anti-tank weapons.

Israel, in the meantime, introduced it was sending 100 tons of humanitarian help — medical tools and drugs, tents, sleeping luggage and blankets — to assist civilians caught up within the preventing in Ukraine.

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Israel additionally provided itself as a possible mediator throughout a cellphone name between Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Putin, the Kremlin and Israel stated.Bennett spoke additionally Friday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who’s Jewish.

On the European entrance, European Union inside and overseas ministers have been holding emergency talks Sunday to reply to the disaster.

Inside ministers have been debating how to deal with an inflow of refugees, in addition to managing safety challenges on EU borders with Ukraine and humanitarian help to the nation. The U.N. refugee company stated as of Sunday greater than 368,000 individuals had fled Ukraine and estimated that 4 million may flee if the preventing spreads.

Later Sunday, EU overseas ministers have been assembly through videoconference to debate sending extra army help to the Ukrainian authorities in Kyiv. EU overseas coverage chief Josep Borrell stated he’ll urge the ministers to endorse “a bundle of emergency help for the Ukrainian armed forces, to assist them of their heroic battle.”

To bolster its army coaching and assist missions all over the world, the 27-nation bloc has arrange a European Peace Facility, a fund with a ceiling of round 5.7 billion euros ($6.4 billion). A few of the cash can be utilized to coach and equip companion international locations, together with with deadly weapons.

Offering weapons to Ukraine that have been purchased with EU cash could be unprecedented.

Borrell says the EU ministers will even weigh “additional measures in assist of Ukraine, in opposition to aggression by Russia.” The assembly is casual, so no binding selections could be taken, however their suggestions could possibly be enacted in coming days.

As Greece despatched extra army help and Italy weighed its personal contributions, Turkish officers termed Russia’s invasion a “warfare,” a categorization that might lead Ankara to shut down the Turkish straits to Russian warships, as Kyiv requested earlier this week. The 1936 Montreux Conference provides Turkey the suitable to bar “belligerent states” from utilizing the Dardanelles and the Bosporus throughout wartime however supplies an exception for Black Sea vessels to return to port.

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On the sanctions entrance, Japan joined america and European nations in reducing key Russian banks from the SWIFT worldwide monetary banking system. Japan will even freeze belongings of Putin and different prime Russian officers, whereas sending $100 million in emergency humanitarian help to Ukraine, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida informed reporters.

Catholic and Orthodox non secular leaders, in the meantime, prayed Sunday for peace, voiced solidarity with Ukrainians and denounced the Russian invasion.

On the Vatican, Ukrainian flags fluttered in St. Peter’s Sq. as Pope Francis delivered his weekly Sunday blessing and appealed for world solidarity for “the struggling individuals of Ukraine.”

“Those that make warfare overlook humanity,” Francis stated, including that such a mentality “depends on the diabolical and perverse logic of weapons, which is the farthest factor from God’s will.”

Francis shunned citing Russia by title, in obvious deference to his hopes to maintain dialogue open with the Russian Orthodox Church.

Additionally Sunday, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople described Russia’s invasion as “past each sense of legislation and morality” and pleaded for an finish to the warfare.

Patriarch Bartholomew is taken into account the religious chief and first amongst equals of Jap Orthodox Christians worldwide. He granted the independence of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, which severed it in 2019 from the Russian church to which it had been tied since 1686. The Russian Orthodox Church severed relations with him as outcome.


Schultheis contributed from Vienna, Austria. Nicole Winfield in Rome, Josef Federman in Kyiv, Ukraine contributed.


Observe all AP tales on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at