President of European Commission stresses that the EU “will target Putin’s propagandists" and extend the export ban, upon the request of the Ukrainian government.

Ursula von der Leyen spoke at joint press conference with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and head of the European Council Charles Michel after Zelenkyy’s meeting with the 27 EU leaders.
Ursula von der Leyen spoke at joint press conference with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and head of the European Council Charles Michel after Zelenkyy’s meeting with the 27 EU leaders. (Yves Herman / Reuters)

Thursday, February 09, 2023

The next EU sanctions package will target "Russian state propagandists" and extend the export ban to items worth over $10.8 billion, the president of the European Commission has said.

Ursula von der Leyen spoke at a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and head of the European Council Charles Michel after Zelenkyy’s meeting with the 27 EU leaders.

“Russia must pay for the destruction caused and for the blood spilled,” von der Leyen said, announcing that the EU will soon adopt the 10th sanctions package in response to the Russia's war on Ukraine.

Here are some other developments:

1710 GMT -  US, UK impose cybersecurity sanctions on Russian group 

The US Treasury Department has announced a joint US-UK effort to sanction Russian cybercriminals as the one-year anniversary of Russia’s attacks of Ukraine nears and Treasury tightens its efforts to financially punish violators of existing sanctions.

The US coordinated with the United Kingdom to impose sanctions on seven people that it said are part of the Russia-based cybercrime gang Trickbot.

1704 GMT - Ukraine's defence minister declares 'zero tolerance' on corruption

Ukraine's defence minister has said hundreds of officials at the ministry or in the armed forces had been disciplined last year after internal audits, and that he had "zero tolerance" for corruption.

Oleksii Reznikov's remarks appeared intended to defend his and the ministry's record on fighting corruption following a scandal which forced out one of his deputies and put his own position in doubt.

Reznikov said 621 officials from the armed forces and the ministry had received fines or reprimands for unspecified "violations" in 2022.

1648 GMT - Biden says undecided on Poland visit to mark Ukraine anniversary

President Joe Biden has said he is still undecided on whether he will visit Poland this month to mark the one-year anniversary of Ukraine's fight against Russian offensive.

As the February 24 mark approaches, there is growing speculation that Biden will visit Europe to meet with allies in the coalition assisting Ukraine. Poland, the main hub for refugees and the funneling in of Western military aid, is thought to be a likely destination.

1540 GMT - Ukrainian forces use drones in front line operations in Donetsk

Ukrainian forces are using various kinds of drones against Russian forces at the front line in the eastern Donetsk region, local commanders has said.

"We generally use three different types of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). One is reconnaissance drones, which are small and quiet. We also have bomb-carrying and kamikaze UAVs," the head of the UAV unit of the 35th Separate Marine Brigade told Anadolu Agency.

The head of the unit, who goes by the codename Gagarin, said he and his team are currently conducting combat operations with kamikaze-type UAVs.

1248 GMT - ‘Victorious Ukraine will become EU member’: Zelenskyy

Ukraine will win the war against Russia and become an EU member, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his first in-person speech at the European Parliament.

His first trip led him to the European Parliament where he gave a speech to EU lawmakers and members of the European Commission.

He said Ukraine is fighting the nearly year-old war to “defend the European way of life,” which is based on rule of law, open societies, and the inviolability of borders.

Zelenskyy stressed that while his country is “fighting, defending itself, it is also modernizing and reforming its institutions” so that it could become an EU member after it received the EU candidate status last June.

1236 GMT - Zelenskyy: Ukraine intercepted plans to destroy Moldova

Zelenskyy said that his country has intercepted plans by Russian secret services to destroy Moldova.

“I have informed her that we have intercepted the plan of the destruction of Moldova by the Russian intelligence," he said through a translator.

Zelenskyy said the documents showed “who, when and how" the plan would "break the democracy of Moldova and establish control over Moldova".

He said the plan was very similar to the one devised by Russia to take over Ukraine. 

He added that he did not know whether Moscow ultimately ordered the plan to be carried out.

1209 GMT  - Zelenskyy urges EU leaders to speed up weapons to Ukraine

Zelenskyy has called on EU leaders at a summit in Brussels to supply Ukraine weapons quicker, before Russia can gather its forces for fresh assaults.

"We have to enhance the dynamics of our cooperation, we have to do it faster than the aggressor," Zelenskyy told his European counterparts.

1009 GMT - EU must quickly consider giving Ukraine jets

European Union countries must quickly consider providing fighter jets to Ukraine, the head of the bloc's parliament said as she hosted Zelenskyy, touring Europe to win more arms to fight against Russian aggression.

Referencing the biblical fight between David and Goliath, European Parliament head, Roberta Metsola said in addressing Zelenskyy in the chamber: "You need to win and now (EU) member states must consider quickly as the next step providing long-range systems and the jets that you need to protect your liberty."

0935 GMT - Italy calls invitation of Ukraine's Zelenskyy to Paris "inappropriate"

Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has said the invitation of Zelenskyy to Paris, where he met French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, was "inappropriate".

"I believe our strength is community and unity .... but there are times when favouring internal public opinion risks being to the detriment of the cause, and this seems to me to be one of those cases," she said in Brussels.

Meloni will meet Zelenskyy in Brussels on the sidelines of the European Union leaders meeting, Italy's Foreign Minister said.

0514 GMT - Nord Stream blast report enough for int’l probe - Russia's Duma

A blog post by a US investigative journalist alleging the United States was behind the explosions that shut the Nord Stream gas pipelines should become the basis for an international investigation, Vyacheslav Volodin, the chairman of the Russian State Duma, said.

The White House dismissed the report, published by US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, which said an attack on the pipelines was carried out last September at the direction of US President Joe Biden.

2355 GMT - Zelenskyy presses Europe for heavy arms 'as soon as possible'

Zelenskyy has urged France and Germany to deliver combat planes and heavy weaponry "as soon as possible", saying time was of the essence in the fight against the Russian offensive.

"The sooner Ukraine gets long-range heavy weaponry, the sooner our pilots get planes, the sooner this Russian aggression will end and we can return to peace in Europe," he said in Paris alongside the leaders of France and Germany.

2144 GMT - Germany: Ukraine belongs to European family

Europe and the United States will support Ukraine in its war against Russia for as long as necessary, German Chancellor Scholz said, adding Ukraine belongs to the European family.

Speaking in Paris with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy and French President Macron, Scholz said leaders at an EU summit would send a strong signal of solidarity with Kiev.

"I am taking a clear message to Brussels: Ukraine belongs to the European family," said Scholz. 

2141 GMT - Macron tells Zelenskyy France determined to help Ukraine

French President Macron has pledged that France would help Ukraine to victory in fighting the Russian offensive and would press on with efforts to deliver arms. 

France is "determined to help Ukraine to victory and the re-establishment of its legitimate rights," said Macron ahead of a late night dinner with Zelenskyy, adding Paris would "continue the efforts" to deliver arms to Kiev. 

For live updates from Wednesday (February 8), click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies