Russian forces bomb major cities and Ukraine calls for tougher sanctions

  • Zelensky says rhetoric about sanctions is not enough
  • EU chief says more sanctions will be imposed
  • US and EU set to ban new investment in Russia
  • Pope condemns Busha ‘massacre’
  • Ukraine reports attacks in the south and east

Lviv (Ukraine)/DUBLIN (April 6) (Reuters) – Artillery shells bombed major cities in Ukraine on Wednesday as its president urged the West to act decisively in imposing new and tougher sanctions on Russia in response to the condemned killings of civilians. widespread as war crimes. .

Western sanctions over Russia’s invasion gained new momentum this week when civilians were found shot dead at close range in the town of Bucha after being retaken from Russian forces.

While Pope Francis called the killings there a “massacre”, the European Commission chief pointed to further sanctions – including a study of a ban on energy imports – in addition to the ones unveiled by the EU on Tuesday. Washington, in turn, is scheduled to announce new sanctions on Wednesday. Read more

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the West needed to act decisively in taking “more stringent” steps.

“When we hear new rhetoric on sanctions…I can’t stand any hesitation after all the Russian forces have done,” he told Irish lawmakers via video link.

Ukrainian officials have said that between 150 and 300 bodies may be in a mass grave near a church in Bucha, north of the capital Kyiv, as satellite images taken weeks ago showed the bodies of civilians on a street, a private US company said. Read more

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Moscow, which has referred to the conflict as a “special military operation” aimed at disarming Ukraine, has denied targeting civilians there and described the evidence presented as fraud carried out by the West to discredit it. Read more

To the south, the besieged southern port of Mariupol was bombed for most of the invasion that began on February 24, leaving tens of thousands of residents trapped without food, water, or electricity.

British military intelligence said on Wednesday that “the humanitarian situation in the city is getting worse”, while Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Verychuk said people trying to flee would have to use their own vehicles. Read more.

Reuters could not immediately verify the British report.

Vereshock said authorities would attempt to evacuate civilians trapped elsewhere through 11 humanitarian corridors.

Pay energy penalties?

Ukraine’s foreign minister said that while he welcomes the latest set of EU sanctions, a ban on Russian gas and oil and the isolation of all Russian banks from the global financial system could “stop” President Vladimir Putin.

“I will impose a gas and oil embargo and Swift cancel all Russian banks to stop Putin. Difficult times require difficult decisions,” Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter.

Last week, Russian forces withdrew from positions outside Kyiv and shifted the focus of their offensive away from the capital, and Ukraine’s General Staff said the northeastern city of Kharkiv, the country’s second largest, was also still under attack.

On Wednesday, authorities in the eastern Luhansk region urged residents to move out “in safety” from an area that Ukraine also expects to be the target of a new attack. Read more

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Speaking a day after the European Union announced new sanctions, including a ban on Russian coal imports and a ban on Russian ships from accessing EU ports, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said there was more to come.

“These sanctions will not be our last,” she told the European Parliament on Wednesday. “Now we have to look at oil and the revenue that Russia gets from fossil fuels.” Read more

Von der Leyen’s comments indicated the bloc’s strong determination to take the step Kyiv says is vital to securing a deal to end the war. But German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said in a newspaper interview that Europe’s largest economy, which depends on Russian gas for many of its energy needs, was not ready for an immediate ban. Read more

The White House said earlier that the new sanctions, coordinated between Washington, the Group of Seven advanced economies and the European Union, would target Russian banks and officials and ban new investment in Russia. Read more

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Additional reporting by Reuters offices. Written by Tomasz Janowski. Editing by John Stonestreet

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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