There can be no ‘gray zones’ in Europe, – Von der Leyen on Ukraine’s accession to EU

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Photo:

Russian aggression is directed not only against Ukraine, but also against democracy and Western values, therefore every country in Europe must decide whether it supports Putin or stands on the side of democracy.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said this during the Munich Security Conference, Ukrinform reports.

“There is an understanding [among Europeans] that Putin will not stop. We have to stop Putin. He has a much broader approach to destabilizing and destroying democracies and that goes to the core of what people believe in. But Europe has been built on the values of democracy and is a peace project that is unique in the world. And this is what Putin and other autocrats are targeting,” von der Leyen said.

According to her, Europeans understand that this behavior by Russia will affect their own lives, and this is a reason for widespread support for steps toward Ukraine’s integration into the European Union.

“The [Ukraine] accession process that we have right now is an enormously important step. What we’ve understood is that there can be no ‘gray zones’ around Europe anymore. You have to decide: either you are with Putin or you are with the democracies. Either you are with the autocrats or you respect our values. The European Union wants Ukraine and the Western Balkans to be part of our European family, because they belong to it,” von der Leyen said.

She recalled that Europeans had provided comprehensive support to Ukrainians since the first day of Russian aggression, taking in more than four million refugees, and giving them access to education, medical care, and other social services.

The EU took a big step forward when it agreed to allocate a EUR 50 billion aid package for Ukraine. Before this, the EU and its member states provided financial, economic, military, and humanitarian aid to Ukraine worth more than EUR 88 billion in the previous two years, she said.

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