Russia will be subject to new sanctions in the amount of billions of pounds. This comes after Ukraine’s president asked Western leaders for punishment against Moscow for alleged war crimes.
The US will announce new measures in the coming days, including a ban against new Russian investment and harsher sanctions on financial institutions and state-owned businesses.
The EU leaders will also meet to discuss plans to ban Russian coal purchases and to stop Russian ships from entering European ports.
These measures were taken after condemnation from the international community over the treatment of Ukrainians living in Bucha. More than 300 bodies have been found including some with their hands tied behind them.
Ukraine news: US will send $100m in missiles to Kyiv; Russia blocks access to Mariupol
Key developments:* Civilian evacuations through eleven humanitarian corridors to be tried today, declares Ukraine deputy PM
* The president of Ukraine will address the Irish parliament later
* NATO foreign ministers will discuss additional support for Ukraine
* France’s President agrees to provide technical support for the investigation of alleged war crimes
After telling the UN Security Council Tuesday that Russia wanted to make Ukrainians “silent slaves,” Ukraine’s president warned Western leaders they were facing a “crucial moment”.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated in his nightly address that new sanctions against Russia must be “comparable with the gravity of occupiers’ war crimes” and that citizens throughout Europe and the West want strong action from their leaders.
He said, “We are preparing an additional package of powerful sanctions to Russia for all it has done our people.”
“Now is a critical moment, especially for Western leaders. This is not about how our people will assess the new sanctions, but what I will say.
“This is how sanctions decisions will be viewed in Western societies. Following the events in Bucha, it is imperative that sanctions against Russia be proportional to the graveness of the occupiers’ war crime.
“If Russian banks are able to continue functioning as usual… If the transit of goods from Russia to Europe continues as before… If the EU pays continue to pay as usual for Russian energy resources… then the political fate of some leaders may change.
“My advice to everybody: Feel now that the moment really is crucial.”
This morning, EU leaders will meet in Brussels to discuss new sanctions. These require approval from the bloc’s 27 members.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, says that Moscow would have to pay EUR4bn per year for an import ban on Russian coal (PS3.3bn), while other plans for bans would have a value of EUR5.5bn (PS4.5bn).
The EU plans to also place a ban on transactions at four Russian banks, VTB included, as well as sanction more Russian oligarchs.
EU leaders want to stop the export of semiconductors and machinery worth EUR10bn (PS8.3bn).
Ukraine had previously demanded that Russian oil be banned from being imported. Ms von der Leyen claims that the EU is currently working on this issue.
On Tuesday, Germany’s foreign minister stated that the EU member states had in principle agreed to end all fossil fuel imports coming from Russia. However, he did not give any dates.
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, stated that new US sanctions will not only hit Russia, but also put additional pressure on officials in the government and their families.
She stated that the goal was to make them choose. “The main objective of this operation is to exhaust the resources Putin has to fight against Ukraine.”
To meet an “urgent requirement”, the Biden administration approved the transfer to Ukraine of $100m worth of Javelin antiarmour missiles.
Russia has pulled out from the Kyiv region, which it claims is in order to “liberate” the eastern Donbass region.
It was that withdrawal that exposed war crimes in the towns at the northwest fringes the capital.
According to the UK’s Ministry of Defence, however, the bombardment of Mariupol in the south shows no signs of slowing down.
The MoD stated that “heavy fighting and airstrikes continue” and that the humanitarian situation was “worsening” in its latest Twitter update.
It stated that most of the remaining 160,000 residents are without light, communication, medicine or heat. “Russian forces prevented humanitarian access and likely to force defenders into surrender.”
According to Iryna Vereshchuk (Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine), Wednesday will see the completion of evacuations through 11 humanitarian corridors. However, those fleeing Mariupol will need to use their own vehicles.