European Law Monitor

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Special meeting of the European Council, 24 February 2022


Main results

The European Council condemned in the strongest possible terms Russia's unprecedented military aggression against Ukraine and expressed full unity with international partners and full solidarity with Ukraine and its people. 

EU condemns unprovoked and unjustified Russian military aggression

The European Council condemned in the strongest possible terms Russia's unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine. By its illegal military actions, Russia is grossly violating international law and undermining European and global security and stability. The European Council underlined the right of Ukraine to choose its own destiny.

Today we see the devastating reality of full-scale war in Europe. Russia alone is to blame. It will pay a heavy price.

Charles Michel, President of the European Council

The European Council demanded that Russia:

  • immediately ceases its military actions
  • unconditionally withdraws all forces and military equipment from Ukraine
  • fully respects Ukraine's territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence
  • respects international law
  • stops their disinformation campaign and cyber-attacks

Further restrictive measures

The EU has reacted swiftly and decisively to Russia’s recognition of Ukraine’s self-proclaimed separatist entities and deployment of its armed forces by adopting restrictive measures in response, including a package of sanctions adopted on 23 February.

The European Council agreed on further restrictive measures that will have massive and severe consequences for Russia, in close coordination with partners and allies. These sanctions cover:

  • the financial sector
  • the energy and transport sectors
  • dual-use goods
  • export control and export financing
  • visa policy
  • additional listings of Russian individuals
  • new listing criteria

The Council will adopt without delay the proposals prepared by the European Commission and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The European Council condemned the involvement of Belarus in Russia's military aggression and called for the swift preparation of  a further individual and economic sanctions package that will also cover Belarus.

The European Council also called for taking forward the work on preparedness and readiness at all levels and invited the Commission, in particular, to put forward contingency measures, including on energy.

Unity and solidarity with Ukraine  

The European Council reiterated its unwavering support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.

The European Council also reaffirmed its full solidarity with Ukraine and that it will continue to support Ukraine and its people together with its international partners, including through additional political, financial and humanitarian support and an international donors' conference.

The European Council also acknowledged the European aspiration and the European choice of Ukraine, as stated in the Association Agreement.

Cooperation with international partners 

The use of force and coercion to change borders has no place in the 21st century. Tensions and conflict should be resolved exclusively through dialogue and diplomacy.

European Council conclusions, 24 February 2022

The European Council stressed that the EU will continue cooperating closely with neighbours and reiterated its unwavering support for, and commitment to, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and of the Republic of Moldova. It will continue strong coordination with partners and allies, within the UN, OSCE, NATO and the G7.


In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea in violation of international law, a move strongly condemned by the EU. By November 2021, Russia had more military troops along Ukraine's border than at any time since 2014, generating great concern in Ukraine, Europe and across the world. In February 2022, President Vladimir Putin decided to recognise the non-government controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in Ukraine as independent entities and to send Russian troops into these areas, before starting the military aggression in Ukraine.