United States, allies ready for new Russian sanctions after Bucha assassination

  • The US and the EU will ban new investment in Russia
  • Zelenskiy says Bucha killings require punishment
  • Ukraine reports attacks in the south and east

LVIV, Ukraine, April 6 (Reuters) – The United States and its allies on Wednesday prepared new sanctions against Moscow over civilian killings, which President Volodymyr Zelenskiy described as “war crimes” as heavy fighting and Russian airstrikes hit the besieged port of Mariupol.

The southern city of Mariupol has been under attack by Russian forces and constantly bombed since the first days of the invasion almost six weeks ago, when tens of thousands of residents were captured without food, water or electricity.

“The humanitarian situation in the city is deteriorating,” the British military intelligence said on Wednesday.

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“Most of the 160,000 remaining residents have no light, communications, medicine, heat or water. Russian forces have prevented humanitarian access, which is likely to force defenders to surrender.” Reuters could not immediately confirm the report.

Western sanctions on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the biggest attack on a European nation since World War II, gained new momentum this week after dead civilians shot at close range were discovered in the northern city of Bucha, seized from Russian forces.

Moscow refused to attack civilians in Bucha, describing evidence presented as a “monstrous forgery” staged by the West to discredit it. Read more

New sanctions to be unveiled on Wednesday are partly a response to Bucha, the White House said.

The measures, coordinated between Washington, the Group of Seven advanced economies and the EU, will target Russian banks and officials and ban new investment in Russia, the White House said. Read more

Proposed EU sanctions, to be approved by the bloc’s 27 member states, will ban the purchase of Russian coal and prevent Russian ships from entering EU ports.

EU director Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc was also working to ban oil imports. Europe, which receives about a third of its natural gas from Russia, has been wary of the economic consequences of a total ban on Russian energy. Read more

But as a signal to strengthen the EU’s determination, Germany’s foreign minister said the coal ban was the first step towards an embargo on all Russian fossil fuel imports. Ukraine says a ban on Russian gas is crucial to securing an agreement to end the war in peace talks.

After a passionate speech to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Zelenskiy said new sanctions “against Russia should be commensurate with the seriousness of the occupiers’ war crimes”, calling it a “crucial moment” for Western leaders.

New Zealand said on Wednesday it would impose a 35% tariff on all imports from Russia and extend the export ban on industrial products linked to strategic Russian industries.

“The images and reports of atrocities committed against civilians in Bucha and other regions of Ukraine are heinous and reprehensible, and New Zealand continues to respond to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s thoughtless acts of aggression,” Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said in a statement. .

The United States has agreed to provide an additional $ 100 million in aid to Ukraine, including Javelin anti-tank systems, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

US chip maker Intel Corp (INTC.O) said it had suspended business operations in Russia and joined a number of companies to leave the country. Read more

In the small Russian town of Kaluga, thousands of car workers have been fired and food prices are skyrocketing as Western sanctions hit its flagship foreign carmakers. Read more

BUCHA FUNERAL

Ukrainian officials say between 150 and 300 bodies may be in a mass grave at a church in Bucha, north of the capital Kiev.

Satellite images taken weeks ago show the bodies of civilians on a street in the city, said a private U.S. company that undercuts Russia’s claims that Ukrainian forces caused the deaths or that the scene was staged. Read more

Reuters reporters saw at least four victims shot through the head in Bucha, one with their hands tied behind their backs.

Residents have told of cases of several others killed, some shot through their eyes and one apparently killed and maimed.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian Serhii Lahovskyi buried the body of a childhood friend who had been shot through the mouth at very close range after disappearing as Russian troops occupied the city. Read more

Lahovskyi and others grabbed shovels and dug a shallow grave on a blade of grass. They used a blanket to carry the remains, and placed him in a ditch before covering him with wooden boards and shoveling soil on top.

“Why did these animals shoot him then?” said Lahovskyi sobbing. “This is not Russia, this is a monster.”

Reuters could not independently verify the details of Lahovsky’s report or who was responsible for the killings in Bucha.

Since the launch of its invasion, Russia has failed to conquer a single major city in what it calls a “special military operation” aimed at demilitarizing and “de-Nazifying” Ukraine.

The Kremlin’s position is rejected by Ukraine and the West as a pretext for an unprovoked invasion that has uprooted a quarter of the country’s population.

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Additional reporting from Reuters agencies; Written by Rami Ayyub and Michael Perry; Editing Lincoln Feast

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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