November 30, 2023


European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said during a visit to Ukraine Friday that Russia’s Vladimir Putin “has to fail and Ukraine has to win.”

Speaking to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour after a visit to Bucha — a town just outside Kyiv where authorities discovered roads lined with civilians apparently tied up and shot at close range, as well as mass graves of local residents — von der Leyen said: “It is horrible. There are almost no words that can explain what I saw. There were still the bodies. Atrocious. Unbelievable. Shocking. This is the brutal face of Putin’s war.”

Von der Leyen said she had been discussing with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal “where we can step up, be it sanction, be it financial support, be it support with the refugees and the internally displaced and of course support for arms. … They will get more arms.”

Von der Leyen’s remarks echoed those of other Western officials this week.

The EU on Friday approved its fifth round of wartime sanctions on Russia, banning imports of the country’s coal and tightening other penalties on Russian banks and wealthy individuals. But the bloc stopped short of cutting off Russian oil and gas — a larger source of revenue for the Kremlin.

NATO allies also said Thursday that they were looking to send Ukraine heavier weaponry in response to an expected Russian offensive in Ukraine’s east.

Earlier in her visit, von der Leyen said the EU would do everything to support Ukraine in taking “the necessary steps” to become a member of the EU, Reuters reported.

Von der Leyen was visiting Ukraine along with the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell.


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