FM Olta Xhaçka statement on Albania’s sanctions against Russia

Dear fellow citizens,
I do not remember another event that united the citizens of all countries of the democratic Europe in resentment, solidarity as well as determination, other than the unprovoked and illegal Russian aggression against Ukraine.
I do believe that I express what all Albanians feel today when I say that the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people against this aggression has won the respect and admiration of all of us.
The war in Ukraine is more than just a war for the freedom of Ukraine. It is a struggle for the future of a democratic Europe, for the architecture of security and cooperation in our continent, as well as rules based international order.
Let’s say it out and clear because this is the position of Albania and the Albanians: Russian aggression against Ukraine is unprovoked. This is not a defensive war, and it is not a war waged in the name of the legitimate security interests of Russia or the Russian people.
This is clear aggression, an illegal and criminal war against a country and its innocent people who have never threatened Russia, whose only sin is the willingness to build a modern and democratic state in Europe based in model, which is not liked by the dictatorial regime of Moscow.
The responsibility for this war lies with Vladimir Putin and the Russian leadership and no one else. I believe that during these days you have seen and followed in the media the reactions of our allied countries for measures and sanctions against Russia and support for Ukraine.
In this dramatic and epochal confrontation of our time, we are proud that Albania is playing a very important role, by giving a first-hand contribution especially in the field of diplomacy.
From the OSCE and NATO where our proposals have been concrete and courageous, to the UN Security Council where in cooperation with the United States Mission our country is playing a primary role in dealing with the Ukraine issue.
A few days ago, together with the US, our country proposed a resolution in the UNSC calling on Russia to stop the attack on Ukraine and withdraw all its troops from this country, forcing Russia to use its veto and showing quite clearly in the eyes of the whole world how isolated Russia is in this criminal venture against a sovereign state.
Today during the day, the Security Council will vote to discuss this resolution in the General Assembly, which will once again demonstrate the extreme isolation of Russia in the international arena.
Albania at the same time joined without any hesitation the restrictive measures taken by the EU against Russia.
Currently, the Albanian government is drafting the legal basis for the implementation of austerity measures approved by the Council of the European Union against Russia and its entities, for the period February 23 to February 25, 2022. These measures are of individual and economic characteristics.
We have joined the individual sanctions on the freezing of assets of individuals ranging from the Russian President, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, members of the National Security Council of the Russian Federation, who supported the immediate recognition by Russia as independent entities of the two areas of Donetsk and Luhansk. These measures are of individual and economic character, members of the Russian State Duma, who ratified the government decision of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between the Russian Federation and these two entities.
In total, these restrictive measures will apply to 654 individuals and 52 entities. In addition, a travel ban on Albanian territory has been imposed for persons listed by the EU, while regarding visa policy, we are considering the cancellation of facilitation policies for the movement of diplomats, other Russian officials and business persons.
Economic sanctions include restrictive measures in finance, energy, transport and technology.
In the Energy Sector we will stop the sale, supply, transfer or export to Russia of goods and specific technologies for oil refining and will impose restrictions on the provision of relevant services.
In the Transport sector we will prohibit the exports of goods used in the areas of technology in the aviation and aerospace industries, and there will be a ban on providing security, reinsurance and maintenance services related to those goods and technology. Provision of relevant technical and financial assistance will also be prohibited.
Further restrictions on exports of dual-use goods and technology will be imposed on the technology sector, as well as restrictions on exports of certain goods and technology, which may contribute to Russia’s technological improvement in its defense sector, and security. This will include products such as semiconductors or the latest technologies.
In addition to these measures, considering the latest unprecedented situation, following the measures taken at European level, the airspace of the Republic of Albania will be closed from tonight for all Russian air operators or any aircraft registered in Russia, except the cases when such flights are performed for emergency reasons, humanitarian or medical purposes or interstate needs.
Albania will no longer participate in any sports activity facing the Russian Federation until Russia ceases its aggression against Ukraine.
Finally, within our capacities we are working to provide assistance in military and hospital supplies, etc., for Ukraine.
In the coming days, we will have more information to share with you regarding the implementation of these measures. I want to emphasize that Albania will continue to join every initiative and measure taken by our allies and partners. This is an obligation that every democratic country has today not only towards Ukraine, but at the same time towards our societies and people and the future of our children.

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