The Russian invasion of Ukraine served as a sharp warning to Member States to improve their defence capabilities, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said during a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon.
Reacting to the round of sanctions approved late last night, which after extensive negotiations will now include oil, the German added that any effective approach to deal with Russia as a non-reliable supplier must be based on unity and collaboration.
“Positive changes have occurred, most notably, we are all aware of Finland’s and Sweden’s applications to join Nato, the world’s biggest military alliance, and their participation will assist them considerably. But also the reality that, since the start of the war, leaders and member states have increased military spending by €200 billion. Now is the time to make sure that we get the most value out of this stepping up and further investment”, she argued.
Diplomats said the agreement would clear the way for other elements of a sixth package of EU sanctions on Russia to take effect, including cutting Russia’s biggest bank, Sberbank, from the SWIFT messaging system.