Ukraine demands “sweeping” sanctions against Russia as Europe threatens energy


  • Borrell EU announces new sanctions before Friday
  • The United States imposes sanctions on Russian banks, Putin’s daughters
  • Zelenskiy is pushing the West to do more in sanctions
  • Ukraine renews demand for full energy embargo

LVIV, Ukraine, April 7 (Reuters) – Ukraine wants sanctions crippling enough to force Russia to end war after accusing some countries of putting economic welfare above the penalties for killing civilians condemned by the West as a war crime.

The democratic world must stop buying Russian oil and completely shut down Russian banks from the international financial system, said President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in his daily video address early on Thursday. Read more

“Some politicians are still unable to decide how to restrict the flow of oil dollars and euros to Russia so as not to endanger its own economy,” Zelenskiy said.

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Washington has announced new measures, including sanctions against two adult daughters of President Vladimir Putin and a major bank. However, the European Union failed to approve a new round of sanctions, including against Russian coal, on Wednesday. EU diplomat Josep Borrell said the package could be approved on Thursday or Friday.

Speaking at a NATO summit, Borrell also said the EU would discuss a trade embargo on Russian oil, which he said he hoped would come soon.

After horrific images of dead civilians on the streets of Bucha, a town northeast of Kyiv, were recovered from Russian invaders, sparking international condemnation, Zelenskiy said Kremlin forces were trying to cover up evidence of atrocities.

“We have information that the Russian military has changed tactics and is trying to remove people who have been killed from the streets and basements … this is just an attempt to hide the evidence and nothing else,” Zelenskiy said, but did not give up. evidence.

Moscow has refused to target civilians, saying pictures of bodies in Bucha have been posted to justify further sanctions against Moscow and prevent peace talks. Read more

Russia’s six-week invasion has forced more than 4 million to flee abroad, killing or injuring thousands, leaving a quarter of the population homeless, destroying cities and launching Western restrictions against the Russian elite and economy.

New steps in Washington on Wednesday included sanctions against top-level lender Sberbank (SBER.MM) and Alfa Bank, Russia’s fourth-largest financial institution.

It also banned the United States from investing in Russia and called for Russia to be expelled from the forum’s 20 major economies, saying it would boycott the G20 summit attended by Russian officials. Read more

An EU source said the European coal ban would be approved on Thursday but would not take effect until August, a month later than previously suggested following pressure from Germany, the EU’s main importer of Russian coal. Read more

The British also froze Sberbank’s assets and said they would ban the import of Russian coal, but not until the end of the year.

The UN General Assembly will vote on Thursday to remove Russia from the UN Human Rights Council. Read more

CALL FOR MORE ACTION

But Ukraine says its allies must go further to halt Moscow’s war machine by ending all energy imports from Russia and blocking supplies of technology and materials used in weapons production.

“Sanctions against Russia must be devastating enough for us to put an end to this terrible war,” Andriy Yermak, Ukraine’s chief of staff, said late Wednesday.

Ukraine’s foreign minister has called on NATO allies to send more aircraft, air defense systems, missiles and military equipment.

“I think the agreement offered by Ukraine is fair. You give us weapons, we sacrifice our lives and the war is included in Ukraine,” Dmytro Kuleba told reporters at a NATO summit.

Hungary said it was ready to comply with Russia’s demand for rubles in gas, in what Ukraine described as “hostile acts”, as it broke with the rest of the EU.

The dispute sheds light on the continent’s anger over Russian gas and oil, which has held it back from a tougher response to the Kremlin, where Russia accounts for about 40% of the EU’s natural gas consumption and a third of its oil imports.

ORGANIZED CITY

Western politicians have condemned the killings in Bucha as a war crime, and Ukrainian officials say there were between 150 and 300 bodies in a mass grave near a church there.

Russia says it is taking part in a “special military operation” to disarm and “disarm” Ukraine, which Kiyiv and its Western allies reject as a false pretext for their invasion.

Russia continues to prepare for an offensive in the eastern part of Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as a siege of the southern port of Mariupol, where tens of thousands are trapped, according to the Ukrainian military chief.

Many in the eastern town of Derhachi, just north of Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv and close to the Russian border, have decided to leave while they can.

Buildings have been badly damaged by Russian artillery. Kharkiv itself has been rocked by air and rocket attacks since the beginning.

Mykola, a father of two in Derhachi who refused to give his last name, said he could hear the thud of bombings every night, and that he had been sitting with his family in the hallway of their home.

“(We go) wherever there are no explosions, as the children do not need to hear them,” he said, hugging his young son and struggling to hold back the tears.

The Ukrainian prosecutor’s office said 167 children had been killed and 297 wounded so far in the war.

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Additional reports from Reuters offices; Writing by Costas Pitas, Lincoln Feast and Tomasz Janowski; Editing by Grant McCool, Jacqueline Wong, Michael Perry and Frank Jack Daniel

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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