An international outcry over claims of “genocide” by Kremlin troops in Ukraine has prompted the European Union to propose a ban on Russian coal imports.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, stated that the ban – which is worth $4.4bn per year – would increase pressure upon President Vladimir Putin following what she called “heinous crime” in Kyiv.
This accusation follows allegations that Russian soldiers committed “genocide” Ukraine amid evidence of mass graves, torture, and bodies found in the streets.
Ukrainian battalion denies claims to surrender – Latest on Ukraine war
In an effort to stop cashflows to Russia, Western leaders called for more sanctions. This was in response to the Kremlin’s categorical denial of killing civilians in Bucha.
NATO’s Secretary General said Tuesday that the alliance was determined to continue arms support to Ukraine, including possibly “high-end” weapon systems.
- Russia denied the killing of civilians in Bucha, and claimed that bodies were planted by Ukraine.
- At 2pm GMT, Zelenskyy will address the UN Security Council about war crime allegations
- According to reports, the Kremlin is preparing for an offensive against the Donbas region
- US warns that next phase of war could be prolonged as Russian troops outnumber Ukraine forces
Russian forces are also believed to be planning a new offensive in the southeast part of Ukraine, after having pulled back from Kyiv.
President Volodymyr Zilenskyy has pledged to identify Russian troops involved in alleged war crimes. He said that Moscow “cannot deceive all the world”, despite its efforts to “distort facts”.
Satellite images show Bucha bodies
Satellite imagery with high resolution shows that many bodies found in Bucha were there for several weeks before Russian forces took control of the area.
Two Maxar Technologies images of bodies clearly visible on two separate occasions (on 19 and 31 March) discredit claims that they were planted following the Russian withdrawal.
The town was home to 35,000 people prior to the war, and was popular with commuters. It was freed by Ukrainian forces on the weekend.
The New York Times first viewed the images.
German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said that the images show the “unbelievable brutality” of the Russian leadership, and those who believe its propaganda.
Russia decries ‘fakes’
On Tuesday, one of Putin’s closest allies stated that claims that Russian forces executed civilians in Bucha were made by Ukrainian propaganda to discredit Russia.
“These are fakes that have matured in the foolish imagination of Ukrainian propaganda,” Dmitry Medvedev (the Russian president from 2008-2012) said.
The UK’s foreign secretary Liz Truss stated that there are increasing evidence of “indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians” which must be investigated as war crime.
She stated that Russia will not be allowed to hide their involvement in atrocities by cynical disinformation. Instead, she will make sure that the truth of Russia’s actions is revealed.
Kremlin forces meet for a new attack
According to the Ukrainian military, Russian forces were in preparation for an offensive in Donbass on Tuesday.
The General Staff posted on Facebook that Putin’s forces have now withdrawn from the Kyiv area and are now focusing on the capture of the cities of Popasna, Rubizhne, and Luhansk, as well as the Black Sea port at Mariupol.
Donetsk, Luhansk, and Luhansk are ruled by Russian-backed separatists. Moscow recognizes them as independent states.
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According to the General Staff, access to Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city, in the east was blocked.
Residents were urged to remain inside by the governor of Ukraine’s Luhansk Region. He advised residents to shut all windows and doors, and prepare wet masks.
The US national security advisor Jake Sullivan warned Monday that Russia likely plans to deploy tens to thousands of soldiers to eastern Ukraine, as it shifts its attention to the south and west.
Zelenskyy will address UN
On Monday, Mr Zelenskyy visited Bucha and reiterated his demand for more lethal assistance from Western leaders. He wondered why they were so enslaved by doubts and indecision.
On Tuesday, he will address UN Security Council about allegations of war crimes.
Monday’s statement by President Joe Biden was: “What’s going on in Bucha is unbelievable and everyone sees.”