European Commission president: Putin has failed to divide Europe

  • 2023-02-24
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, who is visiting Estonia on Friday, said that Russian President Vladimir Putin's attempt to divide Europe has failed.

"One year on, from the start of his brutal war, Putin has failed to achieve a single one of his strategic goals. Instead of dividing the European Union, he finds us united and determined to stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes. Instead of dominating the global energy market, he has seen his main source of revenue slashed. Instead of wiping Ukraine off the map, he is confronted with a nation more vigorous than ever. Ukraine has become a testament to the bravery of a nation which will never relent in its quest for freedom. We have seen that in every single day of the 365 days since the beginning of this atrocious war. And just as Estonia stands proudly as a free and independent state, Ukraine will prevail. Ukraine will prevail because Ukrainians will neither flinch nor step back. And Ukraine will prevail because Europe and its partners and allies will stand firm," she said.

According to her, the fight rages on and Putin has upped the stakes.

"He is sending hundreds of thousands of young Russians as cannon fodder in the trenches in Ukraine. What we saw and heard earlier this week from Moscow tells us that as the losses mount on the battlefield, so does the desperation, the delusion, and the disinformation. That shows the strain Putin's regime is under. But it also comes with real and renewed danger for Ukraine. So now is the time to double down. We must keep giving Ukraine the means to defend itself, until the Russians end this war and leave Ukraine," von der Leyen said. 

"This is why we stand firmly by Ukraine, as determined as ever to support Ukraine financially, economically and militarily, to increase our own defense capabilities, and to increase the pressure on Russia and hold it accountable. Russia is increasingly isolated. I think the vote yesterday at the United Nations General Assembly was very telling -- 141 countries voted in favor of the resolution condemning Russia. Russia is falling backwards towards an autarchic economy, cut away from the world. Our sanctions are eroding sharply its economic base, slashing any prospect to modernize it. We will continue to put pressure on Russia and on those supporting it on the battlefield. We will continue going after Putin's cronies. And we will go after those helping Russia to circumvent sanctions or replenish its war arsenal," she added.

According to von der Leyen, the European Union is working to ensure Ukraine's economic and military resilience.

"First, with continued financial support. We mobilized so far 67 billion euros. Second, with increased military support. We aim to train 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers in the European Union. Our Member States are delivering military equipment. And we will turn to joint procurement to deliver urgent military supplies for Ukraine, such as 155-millimetre ammunition. Equally important is to work with our defense industry to ramp up the production of this ammunition and other equipment needed by Ukrainian forces, but also to replenish our own stocks. Dear Kaja, you rightly brought attention to this at the last European Council. And we are taking action," the president of the European Commission said.