The heads of State and Government of the European Union (EU) have agreed a new package of sanctions against Russia in retaliation for the attack on Ukraine. This is a second package of restrictive measures following the one adopted on Tuesday 22 February.
Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, said this is "an attack on the security of the entire European continent," according to a press release from the Spanish government. The release on the website of the Moncloa palace calls on Russia to "immediately end" the invasion of Ukraine.
The Spanish head of the government emphasized the seriousness of the situation before his European colleagues:
"This is a flagrant violation of international law that we cannot accept. And the EU must respond along the lines we have been maintaining in recent weeks: Unity, which is the basis of our strength; and firmness in our position, open to dialogue and diplomacy, but ready to take tough restrictive measures if Russia opted for force, as it has done," he said.
Meanwhile, Spain announced on Friday the evacuation of its Embassy in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, in whose surroundings Russian troops have already arrived.
Ambassador Silvia Cortés will be taken to Poland in a convoy of vehicles together with around 100 other Spanish citizens, Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares said.
Cortés will be the last staff member of the Spanish embassy to be withdrawn, the Spanish diplomacy chief explained. The convoy will be accompanied and protected by several officers from the special police unit (GEO).
Around 100 other Spanish citizens preferred to remain in Ukraine because they had "deep roots" there, with either family or dual citizenship. They were advised to stay in a safe place and to remain in constant contact with the Spanish authorities.
'Solidarity', but not troops
Pedro Sánchez recalled that Spain is a country of solidarity and stressed the need for the EU to prepare for the humanitarian consequences of this aggression:
"We reiterate our support and solidarity with the Ukrainian people and Government at this difficult time. Spain and the European partners are at your side", the head of the Spanish executive pointed out.
Sanctions against Russia, solidarity with the Ukrainians and reception of refugees is all that the EU - which lacks an army and a defense system of its own - can now promise Ukraine.
Both NATO and the Spanish government made clear on Friday that they will not send troops to Ukrainian territory to defend the country from Russian aggression.
A new package
The 27 agreed on a new package of sanctions against Russia, complementing those adopted on Tuesday. The list of individual sanctions is extended and sectoral sanctions are expanded, with restrictive measures that intend to further reduce the financing capacity of Russian public and private institutions, limiting movements, transactions and deposits and establishing strict export controls, in particular on dual-use and technological equipment.
"This aggression is a frontal attack on European principles and values that opens a crisis of multiple dimensions. Today, we European leaders have reaffirmed our common commitment to confront this clear violation of the international order on the basis of our unity and firmness," Sanchez added.