Ukraine war: US and EU to ramp up sanctions on Russia amid outrage over Bucha atrocities

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Ukrainian soldiers celebrate at a check point in Bucha, in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, April 3, 2022.

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AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File

Russia’s war in Ukraine is taking on a new dimension with growing evidence of human rights atrocities by Vladimir Putin’s troops, accused of killing civilians in cold blood as they retreated from the Kyiv region.

Moves are afoot to investigate war crimes but there are fears that similar massacres could occur, given Russia’s failure to gain control of the country or even any key cities following its invasion on February 24.

Moscow is now concentrating its offensive on eastern and southern Ukraine. Thousands have been killed so far and Russian bombardments have caused widespread devastation. Millions have fled their homes, creating Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II.

The war has deepened the rupture between Russia and the West, which is planning more economic sanctions against Moscow.

Watch our TV coverage in the video player above and follow the latest updates in our live blog below:

06:50

Wednesday’s key points:

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said late Tuesday that he and Western leaders have discussed a new round of sanctions against Russia.The United States, in coordination with the European Union and the G7, is looking to impose a ban on all new investment in Russia as part of a new round of measures to be adopted on Wednesday.The European Union has promised a fifth round of new sanctions “this week”, hitting the energy sector for the first time. The European Commission wants an embargo on Russian coal imports and for EU ports to be closed to Russian-operated ships.It comes amid global outrage at growing evidence of Russian atrocities against civilians in Ukraine, leading to charges that war crimes are being committed under Moscow’s command.Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the UN Security Council the Russian military must be brought to justice for war crimes, comparing Russian forces to “terrorists” over the massacre of civilians in Bucha and warning of more atrocities. But he accused the UN of failing to provide global security and demanded major reform.Russia again offered a blanket denial, telling the UN the atrocities were “staged”, a claim debunked by satellite imagery and a catalogue of witness testimony.US President Joe Biden approved a $100 million (€92 million) transfer of Javelin anti-armour missiles to Ukraine on Tuesday, according to an administration official.A Ukrainian official says Russian troops have allowed 1,496 civilians to evacuate the besieged city of Mariupol by private vehicle but blocked a convoy of evacuation buses from entering.NATO foreign ministers meet in Brussels on Wednesday as allies look to step up military and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.

07:58

‘No compromises on Ukraine’s territorial integrity’ — Kyiv negotiator

President Zelenskyy said further face-to-face talks with Russia would be a challenge in light of the revelations of atrocities in Bucha.

Rustem Umerov, a Ukrainian lawmaker in the Verkhovna Rada who is part of Kyiv’s negotiating team, told Euronews there would be “no compromises on Ukraine’s territorial integrity”.

He also told Euronews Tonight of the recent attempted poisoning of peace negotiators.

Read the article and watch the interview here:

‘No compromises’ on Ukrainian territorial integrity, negotiator says

Rustem Umerov, a Ukrainian MP who is part of Kyiv’s negotiating team spoke to Euronews about Kyiv’s expectations from the talks with Moscow.

07:53

Macron ‘pledges support for war crimes probe’ — Zelenskyy

Volodymyr Zelenskyy said French President Emmanuel Macron has agreed to provide technical and expert support for an investigation into crimes committed by Russian troops in Bucha and elsewhere.

Zelenskyy said Tuesday that he also asked Macron to help the people trapped in the besieged southern city of Mariupol.

In an interview with Turkey’s Haberturk television in Kyiv, Zelenskyy accused Russia of trying to hide its actions in Mariupol and didn’t want humanitarian aid to enter the city “until they clean it all up.”

Zelenskyy said he also expects European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to visit Kyiv soon.

(AP)

07:52

Explosions and missile strike reported in western Ukraine

Explosions were heard on Tuesday evening in the small town of Radekhiv, 70 kilometres from Lviv in western Ukraine and about 50 kilometres from the Polish border, according to a local official. The population was called upon to take shelter.
A large city close to the Polish border, Lviv has become a city of refuge for displaced people.
Meanwhile a regional official in western Ukraine says a Russian missile hit fertilizer tanks, polluting ground water.
Ternopil region Governor Volodymyr Trush said Tuesday that the Russian missile strike destroyed six reservoirs filled with fertilizers, resulting in an ammonia leak into ground water and the Ikva River.
Authorities are advising residents not to use water wells and stop fishing and officials have organised drinking water deliveries. Trush said the environmental situation was expected to stabilise in a few days.

(with AFP)

07:47

Zelenskyy and NATO warn of Russian offensive in east and south 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russian forces still are trying to push deep into Ukraine in the east, but the Ukrainian army is holding them back.

In his daily night-time video address to the nation late Tuesday, Zelenskyy said Ukraine was aware that Russia was gathering up reinforcements for another offensive.

Zelenskyy also said Ukraine is outnumbered both in troops and equipment.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned on Tuesday that in pulling back from the capital, Vladimir Putin’s military is regrouping its forces in order to deploy them to eastern and southern Ukraine for a “crucial phase of the war.”

Russia’s stated goal currently is control of the Donbas, the largely Russian-speaking industrial region in the east that includes the shattered port city of Mariupol.

“Moscow is not giving up its ambitions in Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said.

(with AP)

07:24

Gas dependence again the thorny issue as EU plans new sanctions

The EU is drawing up a fifth round of economic sanctions on Russia to maintain pressure on Putin and his government.

The sanctions will target Russian coal exports in the first move to hit Moscow’s energy sector.

But yet again, the question of gas appeared to be off the table.

Vicky Pryce, Chief Economic Adviser at the Centre for Economics and Business Research, told Euronews that the EU is gradually moving towards the US position in tightening sanctions.

Read the article and watch the interview here:

Russian gas ‘most important to cut off’ as EU introduces new sanctions

In an interview with Euronews, Chief Economic Adviser at the Centre for Economics and Business Research Vicky Pryce says gas is a key import that needs to be halted.

07:19

US sanctions to include ‘ban on new investment’ in Russia

The U.S. and its European allies will impose stiff new sanctions, including a ban on new investments in Russia on Wednesday, a U.S. official says, in retaliation for Russia’s “war crimes” in Ukraine.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to preview the announcement.

The joint action will include a ban on new investment in Russia, toughened sanctions on its financial institutions and government-owned enterprises, and more sanctions on Russian government officials and their family members.

The official said they would further Russia’s economic, financial and technological “isolation” from the rest of the world as a penalty for its attacks on civilians in Ukraine.

(AP)

07:18

Zelenskyy liaises with Western leaders over new sanctions

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said late Tuesday that he and Western leaders have discussed a new round of sanctions against Russia.

“After what the world saw in Bucha, the sanctions against Russia must be commensurate with the gravity of the war crimes committed by the occupiers,” Zelenskyy said in his daily night-time video address to the nation.

In coordination with the European Union and Group of Seven nations, the U.S. will roll out more sanctions against Russia on Wednesday. That reportedly will include a ban on all new investment in the country.

Also, the EU’s executive branch has proposed a ban on coal imports from Russia in what would be the first time the 27-nation bloc has sanctioned the country’s lucrative energy industry over the war.

The coal imports amount to an estimated 4 billion euros ($4.4 billion) per year.

(AP)

06:22

Good morning, this is Alasdair Sandford with Wednesday’s live updates on the war in Ukraine following the Russian invasion.

For a summary of Tuesday’s developments, please click here.

Additional sources • Reuters

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