Europe

Further sanctions against Russia are expected to be imposed by Western leaders as a result of the conflict in Ukraine.

According to the United States, Western leaders will unveil further sanctions against Russia on Wednesday.

The sanctions would target Russian financial and state-owned entities, as well as some politicians and oligarchs, according to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

The decision, according to Ms Psaki, will “hold accountable the Russian kleptocracy that funds and supports Putin’s war.”

Following reports of Russian crimes in Bucha, there has been a surge in calls for more sanctions.

According to the town’s mayor, Russian forces massacred roughly 320 citizens during their occupation of the town, and the revelation of mass graves has caused outages in western cities.

During a press conference in Washington, DC on Tuesday, Ms. Psaki told reporters that the penalties, which are expected to include a ban on all new investment in Russia, will “degrade major instruments of Russian state authority” and “impose acute and immediate economic pain on Russia.”

The Wall Street Journal said on Tuesday that Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, could be among those targeted.

US media have speculated that penalties could be aimed at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s two daughters, though Ms Psaki has declined to comment on the reports.

She went on to say that the penalties would be issued in collaboration with the EU and other G7 members.

“An extra comprehensive package of sanctions measures in concert with the G7 and the EU that will impose costs on Russia to drive it farther down the road of economic, financial, and technical isolation,” Ms Psaki said.

The European Commission suggested wide new sanctions against Russia on Tuesday, including a possible ban on Russian coal imports as well as extra penalties targeting state-owned companies, politicians, and oligarchs in Moscow.

The planned Russian coal ban, which must be approved by all 27 EU member states, would be the first time the EU has restricted Russian energy imports.

Every year, the EU buys roughly €4 billion (£3.3 billion) worth of coal from Moscow.

Some member states, including as Germany, are largely reliant on Russian energy and have been wary of taking direct action against it. However, once proof of Russian war crimes surfaced, mood began to shift, with French President Emmanuel Macron supporting calls for a ban earlier this week.

Member states are also set to impose a “full transaction block” on four Russian banks, as well as a restriction on a slew of other Russian and Belarus imports worth €5.5 billion (£4.59 billion), including wood, cement, seafood, and liquor.

The European Commission’s head, Ursula von der Leyen, has stated that she aims to block EU ports to Russian boats and prohibit Russian and Belarusian road transport firms from operating in the region.

Ms Von der Leyen accused Russia of “waging a harsh and ruthless war” on Ukrainian citizens, and said the EU must “maintain the highest level of pressure on Putin and the Russian government at this vital juncture.”

However, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis slammed the EU’s planned sanctions package on Tuesday evening, calling it a “weak response” that is “an invitation for more atrocities.”

On Twitter, Vilnius’ chief diplomat remarked, “Coal, four banks…a ban on ports and borders (with caveats) is not really an appropriate sanctions package to the killings that are being discovered.”

In a speech to the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russian officials of war crimes in his nation and demanded that they be prosecuted.

“The Russian military hunted out and assassinated everybody who served our country on purpose,” he claimed. “They murdered entire families, including adults and children, and attempted to burn the bodies.”

On Tuesday, American officials announced that they will give Ukraine’s army with anti-armour Javelin missiles worth $100 million (£76 million). This is the sixth shipment of US military hardware to Ukraine since August.

The newly authorized funds would “address an urgent Ukrainian demand for additional Javelin anti-armour systems, which the United States has been giving to Ukraine and they have been utilizing so effectively to defend their country,” according to US Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby.

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