The United States and the European Union plan to impose new harsh sanctions against Russia in response to its “war crimes” in Ukraine following the discovery of atrocities in cities near Kiev.
New sanctions by the United States and its allies, to be announced on Wednesday, include a ban on new investment in Russia and are partly designed to “inflict acute and immediate economic damage on Russia.”
The EU executive on Tuesday proposed a ban on coal imports from Russia, which will be the first sanctions aimed at Moscow’s lucrative energy income from its war in Ukraine. Coal imports are about 4 billion euros ($ 4.4 billion) a year.
“Today we are proposing the 5th package of sanctions. It is important for the whole world to take a clear position, ”the EU Commission said in a statement on Twitter. “A clear stance against Putin’s election war. Against the massacre of civilians. “
The news came after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the UN Security Council earlier on Tuesday that the UN should charge Russian leaders with war crimes.
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►French Finance Minister Bruno Le Mer said on Tuesday that all 27 EU countries are “determined” to impose tougher sanctions on oil and coal. Europe’s dependence on Russian oil, natural gas and coal has left energy sanctions on fears that the entire continent could plunge into recession.
►Czech Republic sends to Ukraine old infantry vehicles and Soviet-made tanks, said Czech MP Ondrej Benešić in Post to Twitter. The Czech Republic was the first country to supply tanks to Ukraine.
►The Zoo and Feldman Ecopark near Kharkiv have been destroyed by Russian troops and large animals will be euthanized because they cannot be evacuated or transported, said Alexander Feldman, the park’s founder. Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, is about 40 miles from Russia’s border and has been hit by Russian missile strikes.
►Italy, Spain and Denmark have joined Germany and France in expelling dozens of Russian diplomats, some of whom believe they were spies.
►The mayor of Kiev Vitali Klitschko, speaking at a forum of mayors organized by the UN Economic Commission for Europe, called on countries to stop all business with Russia, “because every euro, every penny they receive from the Russians – or what you send to Russia – it has the blood of Ukrainians on it. “
Biden will ban investment in Russia under a new package of sanctions
The Biden administration will announce new sanctions on Wednesday, including a ban on new investments in Russia in response to atrocities in the Ukrainian city of Bucha, which “show additional evidence of war crimes,” sources familiar with the decision said.
The fines, adopted in coordination with the G7 and allies in the European Union, also include tougher sanctions against financial institutions and state-owned enterprises, as well as against Russian government officials and members of their families.
A spokesman for the Biden administration said the measures were aimed at “undermining the main instruments of Russian state power, inflicting acute and immediate economic damage on Russia and bringing to justice the Russian kleptocracy that finances and supports Putin’s war.”
According to the official, as a result of sanctions against Russia after the invasion of President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine, Russia’s economy in 2022 will shrink by 15% or more.
“Russia’s financial system is on the verge of collapse,” said White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki, defending the effectiveness of sanctions to date. “President Putin is finding it increasingly difficult to fund this war. It has an impact. ”
On Monday, Biden called for a trial of Putin for war crimes. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described in detail the massacre in the cities around Kyiv during an address to NATO on Tuesday, accusing Russian troops of killing “entire families, adults and children.”
The United States must establish permanent bases with the rotation of forces in new places in Eastern Europe as a safeguard against Russian aggression, a senior U.S. military officer said in Congress on Tuesday.
Army General Mark Millie, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the bases could be funded by other countries such as Poland and the Baltic states – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – who want more US troops to provide protection from Russia. Defense Minister Lloyd Austin said any efforts to increase security in Eastern Europe were “work” that was likely to be discussed at a NATO summit in June.
“I believe that many of our European allies, especially the Baltics or Poland and Romania, and elsewhere, are very, very ready to set up permanent bases,” Milli said. “They will build, pay.”
In his address to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Ukr President Vladimir Zelensky reiterated that Russia had committed war crimes, and said the UN should hold Russian leaders accountable to show other potential war criminals “how they will be punished if the greatest is punished.”
He also called on soldiers who brutally attacked civilians – and those who gave orders – to stand trial for the apparent massacre by Russian troops in Kyiv and other major cities and its environs.
The Russian military killed “everyone who served our country,” Zelensky said on Tuesday. He said women were shot near their homes while they were looking for friends and loved ones. Zelensky confirmed that Ukrainian forces that had recaptured cities had found mass graves, exposing atrocities and infrastructure destroyed by Russian forces.
“They killed whole families, adults and children, and they tried to burn their bodies,” said Zelensky, who called on the UN to provide security guarantees to Ukraine. However, because Russia has a veto, the Security Council will not be able to act.
However, there is a growing impetus in Europe to ban Russian coal and possibly impose sanctions on oil and natural gas imports, which could deal a serious blow to the Russian economy.
Ukraine says satellite imagery shows the brutality of Russian forces
Show satellite images of the city of Bucha near Kiev, taken a few weeks ago bodies of civilians on the street, undermining statements by Russians that Ukrainian forces staged a scene when they returned the city, according to Reuters.
Maxar Technologies has provided Reuters with nine images of Bucha taken on March 18, 19 and 31, and at least four images show bodies on the street. Last week, Ukrainian forces recaptured the city.
Ukraine says 410 civilians have been found dead in Russian cities recently taken from Russian troops. 280 people are buried in mass graves in Bucha, adviser to President Uladzimir Zielenski Alyaksei Arestovich said. Zelensky told the UN Security Council that satellite imagery showed what had actually happened during the attacks on Bucha, adding that “we can conduct a full and transparent investigation.”
The atrocities near Kiev cause outrage in the world. Will this be a turning point in the war?
Human Rights Watch: Russia uses banned mines
Russia is using a device known as the Pom-3 Medallion, a mine capable of killing people within a 50-foot radius, Human Rights Watch reports.
The International Mine Action Treaty of 1997 prohibits the manufacture and use of anti-personnel mines. Ukraine is one of the 164 countries that have signed the agreement. The United States and Russia have not signed it.
“They are mining all this territory,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a video message. “Houses, equipment, even the bodies of killed people are being extracted. Too many mines, too many other dangers. ” Read more here.
– Janet Lorca and George Petras
1.2 billion citizens of the world remained vulnerable to the devastation of the war
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addressed Ukrainian Security Council President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday, saying the world was “dealing with a full-fledged invasion” in violation of the UN Charter.
The result: more than 10 million Ukrainians have left their homes and more than 4 million of them have left the country.
Guterres said the victims of the war also included more than 1.2 billion citizens of developing countries struggling with rising prices and other economic problems exacerbated by the war.
“Every day more and more urgent to shut down weapons,” – said Guterres.
A group of Harvard University students has created a website to help Ukrainian refugees find housing around the world.
Ukrainetakeshelter.com, created by Avi Schiffman and Mark Burstein, encourages everyone who has a place in the house to publish the list. Refugees and host persons must prove their identity through a government-issued identity card or passport. More than 18,000 potential hosts have registered on the site. On the last day, Burstein and Schiffman registered 800,000 users.
Burstein said he, Schiffman and Irish software engineer Daniel Conlan were “surprised” by the response.
“We’ve heard all sorts of weird stories about how landlords and refugees are connected around the world,” Burstein said. “We have hosts in almost every country you can imagine, from Hungary and Romania and Poland to Canada and Australia.”
State Department calls atrocities part of “broader, more alarming campaign”
Reports of torture, rape and executions in Ukraine are unlikely to be the actions of rogue soldiers, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Monday.
“They are part of a larger, more alarming campaign,” he told a State Department briefing.
Price said the world was shocked by “horrific images of the Kremlin’s brutality” in Bucha and other cities near Kiev. Believers, many with their hands tied, were apparently shot in the streets.
Others were thrown into mass graves. In retreating, the Russians also left mines and mine-traps to injure more Ukrainians and slow recovery, Price said.
The blatant atrocities will be one of the topics of discussion when Secretary of State Anthony Blinken meets with his NATO counterparts in Belgium this week.
Allies are already discussing additional sanctions and ways to help Ukraine document war crimes for prosecution, Price said. The United States has contributed both money and labor to help Ukraine’s attorney general settle the case.
The German president admits mistakes in his policy towards Russia in his previous post of foreign minister. President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has twice served as foreign minister, most recently from 2013 to 2017, and has held a dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin to develop energy ties. Russia supplies Germany with about one-third of its oil and gas and more than half of its coal.
Ukraine and Polish officials have criticized Steinmeier for being too close to Russia. The Ambassador of Ukraine in Berlin boycotted a peace concert with the participation of Russian artists, organized by Steinmeier.
Steinmeier told ZDF on Tuesday that “we have failed on many points,” including in an effort to encourage Russia to democracy and respect for human rights.
Contributed by: Associated Press