Ukraine seeks ruinous sanctions against Russia amid EU hesitation
- EU disagrees with sanctions amid coal ban questions
- US imposes sanctions on Russian banks and Putin’s daughters
- Zelenskiy pressures Western leaders to do more on sanctions
LVIV, Ukraine, April 7 (Reuters) – Ukraine wants sanctions economically destructive enough to get Russia to end its war after accusing some countries of always prioritizing money over punishment for the killings of civilians that the West condemns as war crimes.
The democratic world must reject Russian oil and completely block Russian banks from the international financial system, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his daily video address on Thursday. Read more
After gruesome images of dead civilians on the streets of Bucha sparked international condemnation, Zelenskiy said Kremlin forces were trying to cover up evidence of atrocities.
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“We have information that the Russian military has changed tactics and is trying to expel the people who were killed from the streets and basements…it’s just an attempt to hide the evidence and nothing more,” Zelenskiy said, but did not provide evidence.
Moscow has denied targeting civilians and said images of bodies in Bucha were staged to justify more sanctions against Moscow and derail peace talks. Read more
Russia’s six-week invasion has so far forced more than 4 million people to flee abroad, killed or injured thousands, left a quarter of the population homeless, turned cities to rubble and caused a host of Western restrictions on Russia’s elites and economy.
Washington announced measures on Wednesday, including sanctions against President Vladimir Putin’s two adult daughters and Russia’s Sberbank (SBER.MM), and a ban on Americans investing in Russia.
The United States also wants Russia expelled from the G20 forum and will boycott a number of G20 meetings in Indonesia if Russian officials show up. Read more
But the head of Ukraine’s presidential office Andriy Yermak said late Wednesday his allies needed to go further.
“Sanctions against Russia must be dire enough for us to end this terrible war,” he said.
“My goal is to impose an embargo on the supply of dual-use technologies, equipment, minerals and ores (and) rare earths to Russia and thus to stop arms production in Russia.”
Zelenskiy had previously criticized some Westerners.
“The only thing we lack is the principled approach of some leaders… who still believe that war and war crimes are not something as horrible as financial loss,” he said. he told Irish lawmakers. Read more
European Union diplomats did not approve new sanctions on Wednesday as technical issues needed to be resolved, including whether a coal ban would affect existing contracts, sources said.
EU member Hungary said it was ready to meet a Russian demand to pay rubles for its gas, breaking ranks with the rest of the bloc and underscoring the continent’s reliance on imports that have plagued it prevented from a tougher response in the Kremlin.
State refiners in China, which have close ties to Moscow, are honoring existing Russian oil contracts but avoiding new ones despite deep discounts, heeding Beijing’s plea for caution as Western sanctions mount against Russia, six people told Reuters. Read more
Western politicians have denounced Bucha’s killings as war crimes, and Ukrainian officials say a mass grave near a church contained between 150 and 300 bodies.
Russia says it is engaged in a “special military operation” intended to demilitarize and “denazify” Ukraine. Ukraine and Western governments dismiss this as a false pretext for its invasion.
Russia continues to prepare for an attack to take full control of the breakaway eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk as well as the besieged southern port of Mariupol, where tens of thousands of people are trapped, the general staff said on Wednesday. Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Ukrainian authorities say they cannot help people evacuate the town of Izyum on the eastern front line or send humanitarian aid because it is entirely under Russian control while the east is seeing the worst fighting.
Many residents of the eastern town of Derhachi, just north of Kharkiv and near the border with Russia, decided to leave while they could.
The buildings were badly damaged by Russian artillery. Kharkiv itself has been hammered by airstrikes and rockets from the start.
Mykola, a father-of-two in Derhachi who declined to give his surname, said he could hear the thump of shelling every night and hunkered down with his family in the hallway of their home .
“(We’ll go) anywhere there won’t be explosions, where kids won’t have to hear them,” he said as he hugged his young son and struggled to hold back his arms. tears.
The new US sanctions hit Russia’s Sberbank, which owns a third of Russia’s total banking assets, and Alfabank, the country’s fourth-largest financial institution, but energy transactions were exempted, US officials said.
The bank sanctions are “a direct blow to the Russian population (and) ordinary citizens,” Tass news agency quoted US Ambassador to Russia Anatoly Antonov as saying.
Britain also froze the assets of Sberbank and announced it would ban imports of Russian coal by the end of the year.
But Europe is walking a tightrope as Russia supplies around 40% of the EU’s natural gas consumption and the bloc also receives a third of its oil imports from Russia, or around $700 million a year. day.
Germany, Europe’s largest economy that depends on Russian gas for much of its energy needs, has warned that while it supports an end to Russian energy imports as soon as possible, it cannot do so. overnight. Read more
Despite sanctions, the Russian ruble extended recovery gains on Wednesday, returning to levels seen before the invasion, dispelling fears of a potential default on international debt as it paid dollar bondholders in rubles .
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Additional reports by Reuters offices; Written by Costas Pitas and Lincoln Feast; Editing by Grant McCool, Jacqueline Wong and Michael Perry
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