Wednesday’s European Union sanctions against Russia included a phased oil embargo. Kyiv claimed that Russia was intensifying its offensive in eastern Ukraine, and Belarus, a close Russian ally, announced large-scale military drills.
Nearly 10 weeks into a war which has claimed the lives of thousands, uprooted millions, and flattened Ukrainian cities it was already intensifying Russia’s assault, Ukraine’s defence ministry stated. There were nearly 50 air strikes that were conducted on Tuesday alone.
Russia also increased strikes against targets in west Ukraine, claiming that it was disrupting Western arms delivery.
A convoy of buses started evacuating civilians from Mariupol’s southeastern port, where there has been the most fighting and where Moscow claimed that the remaining Ukrainian forces were still tightly blocked.
The European Commission suggested that Russia’s $1.8 trillion economy be restructured. It would ban imports of Russian crude oil for six months, and refine products for the remainder of the year. This put pressure on Russia, causing the Brent crude price to rise by up to 4%.
“(President Vladimir Putin) must pay a price for his brutal aggression,” Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said to applauding EU lawmakers in Strasbourg.
If all 27 EU countries agree to the plan, it would be an echo of the steps taken by the United States or Britain. It would also mark a turning point for the largest trading bloc in the world, which is still dependent on Russian energy and must find other sources.
U.S. President Joe Biden stated that he will speak with other leaders of the Group of Seven advanced countries this week to discuss possible additional sanctions against Moscow. Biden stated that he was open to any additional sanctions.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, welcomed the news from Brussels. However, Kyiv reiterated its call for more aggressive measures to stop Russia’s war machine.
He said that while he was happy with the decision, he added that the EU countries would continue to pay Russia billions of euro for six months, which he explained to Puls 4 in an interview.
He stated, “My position is straightforward: every euro Russia pays for gas, oil, or other goods ends in rounds of ammunition in Ukraine to murder my compatriots,” while calling for modern tanks, multiple launch rocket systems, and protection of territory.
The EU plan, which targets Russia’s top bank and its broadcasters as well as hundreds of other individuals, isn’t a finished deal. Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic all want to give themselves time to adapt. When they met again on Thursday, EU envoys were expected move closer to an agreement.
The EU has yet not to target Russian natural gas. This is used to heat homes and generate electricity throughout the bloc and is harder to replace than Russian crude.
According to the Kremlin, Russia is considering different responses to EU plans and added that sanctions could increase the costs of European citizens.
Sergei Shoigu, Russian Defence Minister, reiterated his warning to the United States that Moscow will seek to block shipments of weapons into Ukraine from NATO allies and the United States.
According to the Russian defense ministry, its forces destroyed six railway stations that supplied Western arms to Ukraine’s east. They also struck 40 military targets, including four ammunition and artillery storage depots.
According to Ukraine’s defense ministry, Russian strategic bombers launched 18 rockets with the “intention of damaging our country’s transport infrastructure.”
Russia published video footage showing two Kalibr cruise missiles launched from the Black Sea. It claimed that they struck unspecified ground targets in Ukraine.
The surprise military drills were announced by the Belarusian defence ministry. However, Ukraine’s border service stated that it cannot rule out that Belarusian forces could join Russia’s assault.
Andriy Demchenko, a spokesperson for the organization, stated that they were ready.
While some Russian troops entered Ukraine via Belarus during the February 24th invasion, no Belarusian troops were involved in the “special military operation” Moscow refers to as an effort to disarm Ukraine and protect its Russian-speaking population against fascists.
Kyiv and its Western allies claim that Moscow’s fascism claim by Moscow is an absurd pretext to an unprovoked war on aggression that has forced more than five million Ukrainians from their homeland.
On Wednesday, the Kremlin dismissed speculations that Putin would declare war on Ukraine. Instead, he would order a national mobilization on May 9, which is when Russia marks the victory of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany in World War Two. Putin will deliver a speech in Moscow’s Red Square and supervise a military parade.
According to Pavlo Kyrylenko, Donetsk Governor, the convoy from Mariupol was organized by the United Nations, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. It was headed for Zaporizhzhia which is under Ukrainian control.
He didn’t say whether more civilians were evacuated from Azovstal steelworks, where last defenders of the city are fighting Russian forces that have seized Mariupol.
After spending weeks hiding in bunkers under the Soviet-era complex, the first Azovstal evacuees arrived in Zaporizhzhia by bus on Tuesday.
Vadym Boichenko, Mariupol mayor, reported heavy fighting at Azovstal Wednesday and claimed that contact with Ukrainian fighters had been lost. He added that more than 30 children were among the trapped civilians waiting for evacuation.
Russia claims Mariupol. Once a city of 400,000, it has been reduced to smokey rubble by weeks of shelling and siege. It is vital to Moscow’s efforts in cutting Ukraine off from Black Sea, which is crucial for metal and grain exports. Also, it links Russian-controlled territory to the south and east.
Moscow has made the southern coast, along with the eastern Donbas, its key target since invading Kyiv’s capital.