The invasion of Ukraine is a clash between the rule of law and the rule of the gun, President von der Leyen said in a speech to the European Parliament Plenary this week (1 March).
Von der Leyen described the conflict as a clash between democracies and autocracies, between a rules-based order and a world of naked aggression, a clash of two worlds and two polar sets of values.
“How we respond today to what Russia is doing will determine the future of the international system,” the president said.
Destiny at stake
“The destiny of Ukraine is at stake, but our own fate also lies in the balance. We must show the power that lies in our democracies – the power of people that choose their independent paths, freely and democratically,” she added.
That the EU is showing a unity of purpose “makes me proud,” the President von der Leyen continued.
“At the speed of light, the European Union has adopted three waves of heavy sanctions against Russia’s financial system, its high-tech industries and its corrupt elite.
“This is the largest sanctions package in our union’s history. We do not take these measures lightly, but we feel we had to act,” she said.
The sanctions will take a heavy toll on the Russian economy and the Kremlin, the president added, and will paralyse billions in foreign reserves, turning off the tap on Putin’s war.