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U.S., Europe plan Russia sanctions as Ukraine warns of more civilian deaths

On Tuesday, the United States and Europe planned new sanctions to punish Moscow for civilian killings in Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned that more deaths could be discovered in areas seized by Russian invaders.

As it continues its offensive against Ukraine’s east and south, Russian forces pulled out of towns north Kyiv. The Ukrainian troops retook towns that were destroyed by six weeks of war, including Bucha where civilians were lining the streets.

On Monday, the international outcry was sparked by the shocking images of Bucha’s mass grave and the bodies of close-range shooters.

The U.S. President Joe Biden demanded a trial for war crimes against Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. The United States will request that the U.N. General Assembly suspend Russia from its Human Rights Council.

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Russia denied any allegations related to the killing of civilians, and stated that it would present “empirical proof” to the United Nations Security Council meeting on Tuesday to prove its forces weren’t involved.

Zelenskiy stated in a video address that he would address the Security Council Tuesday morning as he seeks support for an investigation into Bucha’s killings.

“And this is just one town. Zelenskiy stated that this was one of many Ukrainian villages which Russian forces were able to capture. “Now, we have information that in Borodyanka, and other liberated Ukrainian villages, the number of casualties may be even higher,” Zelenskiy said. He was referring to a city located 25 km (16 mi) west of Bucha.

Reuters witnessed several bodies shot at close range. Makeshift burials were also seen in Bucha. However, Reuters could not verify the number of dead and who was responsible.

Dmytro Kuleba is the Ukraine’s foreign minister. He said that he had spoken with Antonio Guterres, U.N. Secretary General, about Bucha.

Kuleba also spoke to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi via phone call Monday. Beijing once again called for talks to end the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

Beijing claimed that the call was made at Ukraine’s request. It was the first high-level communication between the two countries since March 1, when Kuleba requested Beijing to use its relations with Moscow to stop Russia’s invading force, according to the Ukrainian foreign ministry at the time.

Russia launched a “special military operations” in Ukraine on February 24, with the aim of demilitarizing and “denazifying” Ukraine. The West and Ukraine both claim that the invasion was illegally and inexcusable.

In the face of unexpectedly lethal, mobile Ukrainian resistance using Western antitank weaponry, the Russian forces retreated from Kyiv.

Moscow interpreted the withdrawal as a gesture of goodwill at peace negotiations, which last met on Friday. Although negotiators were due to meet on Monday, neither side has provided any updates on the negotiations.

Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security advisor, stated that new U.S. sanctions would be issued against Moscow this week. The U.S. State Department stated that it is supporting an international team consisting of prosecutors and experts who will collect evidence of atrocities.

France and Germany announced that they would expel Russian diplomats.

Russia will respond in kind and “slam the door on Western embassies”, Russian deputy head of security council Dmitry Medvedev, ex-president, said.

It will be more affordable for everyone. Then we’ll just look at each other through gunsights.

Christine Lambrecht, the German Defense Minister, stated that the European Union should discuss banning Russian Gas. However other officials cautioned against any measures that could lead to a European energy crisis.

Russia supplies around a third of Europe’s gas and Putin has attempted to use energy to counter Western sanctions. Despite uncertainty about Putin’s demand for payments in rubles, Moscow has maintained gas flow through key pipeline routes to Europe.

The United States prevented the Russian government from paying its sovereign debt holders more than $600million from its reserves at American banks. This was done to increase pressure on Moscow and reduce its dollar holdings.

Ukraine stated that it was ready for around 60,000 Russian reservists, to be called in to support Moscow’s offensive to the east. Russia’s main targets in the area have been the port of Mariupol, Kharkiv (the country’s second largest city) and Kharkiv.

According to the general staff of Ukraine, Russian forces are aiming to take control of Donetsk/Luhansk regions claimed by Russian-backed separatists. They also intend to encircle a number of Ukrainian forces.

“Russian troops attacked Mykolayiv using cluster munitions, which are prohibited by the Geneva Convention. Whole blocks of civilian buildings were under attack, including a children’s hospital. The general staff stated that there were “dead and wounded,” including children, in a Tuesday daily update.

Reuters was unable to independently verify the claims.

Three bodies were found in Mariupol, a town in the Azov Sea’s southeast, lying on the streets. One was against a wall that had been sprayed with blood.

According to a spokesperson, a team from the International Committee of the Red Cross was stopped while trying to reach Mariupol in order to evacuate civilians. They are now being held in a nearby community.

Oleksandr Senkevich, head of regional administration, said that shelling in the area west of Mariupol (in the town of Mykolaiv) on Monday resulted in the deaths of 10 people, including one child. Reuters could not verify the report immediately.

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