EU prepares new sanctions against Russia after apparent atrocities near Kyiv
The EU is preparing to introduce new sanctions against Moscow after reports of atrocities emerged following Russia’s military withdrawal from the outskirts of kyiv.
European Council President Charles Michel said new sanctions were “on the way” in response to Russia’s actions in Bucha, a town about 25 km northwest of central kyiv that was under Russian occupation until ‘has recently.
“Shocked by the haunting images of atrocities committed by the Russian military in the liberated region of kyiv,” Michel said on Twitter on Sunday. “New EU sanctions and support are on the way. The EU is helping Ukraine and NGOs gather the evidence needed for prosecution in international courts.”
Ambassadors to the EU are expected to discuss the new set of measures on Wednesday, according to a diplomat with knowledge of the plans.
The promise of more punitive measures against Russia follows the West’s strong condemnation of alleged Russian war crimes against unarmed Ukrainian civilians in recently liberated areas around kyiv, as Moscow shifts its war focus to l east of the country.
Emine Dzheppar, Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister, said soldiers who recaptured Bucha from Russian forces reported “many civilians killed”.
“A part of [the] the victims have their hands tied. Innocent victims. They didn’t deserve this,” she said.
In the nearby village of Motyzhyn, Russian soldiers also “did terrible things”, she added. “Their cruelty knows no bounds. Before the arrival of Ukrainian troops, [the] The Russian army killed as many civilians as possible. Inhuman. Terrible. Mute.”
Bucha’s footage was “unbearable”, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter, expressing his “compassion” for the “hundreds of cowardly murdered civilians”. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz described “terrible and macabre” scenes emerging from the city, mentioning “roads strewn with corpses”.
“You can’t help but see these images as a punch in the stomach,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, urging the global community not to become “numbed”. Liz Truss, UK Foreign Secretary, also said she was “appalled by the atrocities in Bucha and other towns”, adding that the UK was collecting evidence of war crimes.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock promised “to intensify sanctions against Russia and to support Ukraine’s defense even more”, while her French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian called for “pressure strongest possible international economy” on Moscow.
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has called for “a fifth round of tough EU sanctions as soon as possible”.
Existing EU measures include banning seven Russian banks from the global Swift payments network, blocking exports of key technologies to Russia, including for defence, energy, telecommunications and aviation, banning Russian airlines from its airspace and freezing assets against hundreds of Russian oligarchs and officials, including Putin.
Future measures proposed by some member states include more individual sanctions, a ban on Russian vessels using EU ports, more export restrictions and embargoes on energy supplies such as coal, oil or gas – long demanded by Ukraine but previously resisted by some major European economies.
Calls for sanctions targeting Russian energy exports – on which the EU relies heavily – have intensified. In Italy, one of the EU countries most dependent on Russian gas, Enrico Letta, leader of the centre-left Democratic Party, a junior partner in Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government of national unity, called for a ” complete embargo on Russian oil and gas”.
Buying Russian oil and gas “was financing war crimes”, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said. The Baltic country said it was the first in the EU to stop gas imports from Moscow. “Dear EU friends, pull the plug. Don’t be complicit,” he added.
The Russian Defense Ministry on Sunday denied accusations of killing civilians in Bucha, calling the accusations a “provocation”.
“While this settlement was under the control of the Russian armed forces, not a single local resident suffered any violent actions,” he said in a statement, adding that photos and videos of atrocities are ” another production of the kyiv regime for the Western media”.
Human Rights Watch said it documented several cases of unlawful violence that it called “apparent war crimes”, including in the Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Kyiv regions.
The New York-based group said the cases it documented, which included summary executions and rapes, indicated “unspeakable and deliberate cruelty and violence against Ukrainian civilians” that should be addressed. investigated as war crimes.
Gyunduz Mamedov, a former deputy prosecutor general of Ukraine and specialist in international criminal law who visited Irpin and Bucha, said that in addition to the widespread destruction of infrastructure, he had seen corpses of civilians and fresh graves. hollowed out marked with crosses.
He said around 50% of Irpin’s buildings were damaged and around 300 civilians were killed in the Russian offensive.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said such ‘brutality against civilians’ had not been seen in Europe for decades, adding that it was ‘extremely important’ that the International Criminal Court open an investigation into possible war crimes in Ukraine.
Carla Del Ponte, the former chief prosecutor of the UN war crimes tribunals, demanded an international arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin on Saturday, calling the Russian president a “war criminal”.
Meanwhile, Russian negotiators leading the peace talks between the two countries said there would be further talks on Monday. Vladimir Medinsky, head of the Russian delegation, said Russia accepted Ukraine’s position except for its position on Crimea.
Additional reporting by Nastassia Astrasheuskaya in Riga, Guy Chazan in Berlin, Richard Milne in Oslo, Jasmine Cameron-Chileshe in London and Lauren Fedor in Washington