Fri. May 27th, 2022

Brussels, 21 March 2021

This is an unofficial translation of the doorstep remarks by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock at today’s Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels:

“The images from Ukraine that again are reaching us in these hours are simply heartbreaking. When one can see how the bombings are increasing, especially on civilian infrastructure, very deliberate bombings of hospitals in recent days, of theaters, where one knows that there are civilians, that there are families, that there are people in there.

Courts will have to decide, but for me these are war crimes, clearly and unequivocally. This makes it all the more clear that we as the European Union, that we as the global community who believe in a rules-based international order, we clearly have to isolate the Russian leadership.

That is why we will decide here and today politically to provide further military, financial support. We will increase the funding for military procurement to 1 billion, to underline: We stand in full solidarity with Ukraine. We stand to protect the civilian population in Ukraine. And we also do everything we can to close sanctions loopholes. To state clearly that other countries, that are now using those opportunities we wanted to cut off through sanctions/financial flows, that these opportunities will now be closed consistently. All those taking advantage from this war, taking profit from President Putin’s regime, will also be sanctioned accordingly, including their family members.

We as Europeans counter the brutality and inhumanity stemming from that war with humanity. That is why, all and once again, we will increase funds for our humanitarian aid. We provide shelter to the people fleeing Ukraine. I think we have to be very aware that more than three million people have already fled, but many, many more millions of people will flee. We have seen in the first few days that those fleeing are mainly those who have cars themselves, who have relatives in other European countries.

But as the brutality of the Russian war increases, more people will flee who have no one in Europe, who could not take anything with them. Therefore, together as Europeans, we now have to support the European countries at the European external border to distribute refugees throughout Europe.

I am also here today to make an urgent appeal to all my European friends, but also to the global community, to our transatlantic partners. Not only do we need human corridors on the ground out of Ukraine, we also need an airbridge in solidarity. We need to distribute refugees from the EU’s external border directly to European countries. Everyone needs to take in refugees and we are not talking about a few thousand, we are talking about millions of refugees. The estimates go up to eight million refugees; there will certainly be more. That means that we – every country in Europe – must take in refugees in the hundreds of thousands and, above all, must distribute them jointly across the transatlantic.”