EU, Ukraine, Rob Schmitz discussed on Morning Edition

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The Russian ruble plummeted today at a record low solo its value is said to be less than a penny The drop is in response to Russia being cut off from the global bank payment system in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine And that's not the only consequence the EU has imposed a blanket ban on Russian planes and it's for the first time sending lethal weapons to Ukraine's military ending a long-standing policy of not providing weapons to conflict regions NPR's rob schmitz joins us from Berlin to walk us through all this rob Let's start with the moves from the EU layout exactly what the actions it took Yeah you commission president Ursula von der leyen announced a raft of new punitive measures First off as you mentioned the EU has asked all its 27 members to close their airspace to Russian owned registered or controlled aircraft This morning departure boards at Moscow's airport showed dozens of canceled flights to cities across Europe But that's just the start Underline also announced the EU will for the first time finance the purchase and delivery of weapons and other equipment to a country under attack This is a landmark move These shipments which will include fighter jets will commence immediately to Ukraine's military Joseph Burrell the EU's foreign policy chief had this to say about the blocks about face on this issue With the war that it will be a union was not providing arms in a war Yes We are doing Because this war requires our engagement in order to support the Ukrainian army And a the EU also banned the Russian state backed media outlets RT Sputnik and their subsidiaries to ban what von der leyen called their toxic and harmful disinformation and finally the EU plans to hit the regime of Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus with sweeping new sanctions in return for allowing Putin to use his country as a staging site for the Russian invasion So some history from the EU also in Germany too they may not have historic shift in their security policy They announced a new massive investment into its own military tell us all about that Yeah the Germany that's waking up today is not the same Germany as last week Yesterday in a speech to the bundestag Germany's parliament Olaf scholz did away with years of miracle era foreign security policy and announced the country would set up a special fund of a €100 billion to fund Germany's armed forces and from now on would spend at least 2% of its GDP on its military when Schultz announced this the bundestag erupted in applause This was a shocking about face for a country that has for years been stubbornly reluctant to invest in its own military Last year Germany spent only 1.4% of its GDP on its defense So this new commitment is a game changer for Europe and its security Schultz defended the move by saying this Imperium an a he's saying here that Putin wants to reestablish a Russian Empire and fundamentally reorder Europe according to his own ideas by using military force And that forces the question what capabilities do we have to counter that threat So this is a turning point in German history and it was met with a gush of support from throughout Europe In fact right after Schultz announced this more than a 100,000 people poured into central Berlin in front of the Brandenburg gate to show their support for Ukraine That's rob Schmidt joining us from Berlin rob things Thank you Billions of people around the world billions are already suffering because of climate change That's according to a report by the.

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