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Sunday, March 26, 2023

Russia commits ‘war crimes’ in Ukraine: EU

Russia Ukraine WarRussia commits ‘war crimes’ in Ukraine: EU

Brussels (Times Of Ocean)- The EU foreign ministers will discuss new sanctions, including a ban on Russian energy exports.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat for foreign affairs, condemned Russia’s attacks against Ukrainian civilians on Monday, calling them “war crimes.”

Borrell spoke with reporters on the way to the meeting of the EU foreign affairs and defense ministers in Brussels.

“It is not a war, it is a massive destruction of a country without any kind of consideration on the law of war,” Borrell said.

According to him, Russians are committing “war crimes” against the people of Mariupol by attacking civilians.

EU ministers will discuss new sanctions against Russia with energy as a focus, he said.

Both Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney and his Lithuanian counterpart Gabrielius Landsbergis suggested banning Russian oil exports to the EU in their doorstep speeches.

“It’s unavoidable we start talking about the energy sector, and we can definitely talk about oil because it is the biggest revenue to Russia’s budget,” Landsbergis asserted.

“We cannot get tired of imposing sanctions, we cannot get tired of bringing assistance and help to Ukraine,” he added.

Borrell’s proposal calls for the EU to double its military assistance under the European Peace Facility and allocate another €500 million ($550 million) to Ukraine.

In order to approve military aid, the German government needs the approval of the Bundestag. Voting will take place on Tuesday.

After lunch, the EU foreign and defense ministers will hold a joint session in the so-called “jumbo format” to discuss and possibly adopt the bloc’s new defense strategy.

In his Strategic Compass, Borrell suggests smarter joint use of military capabilities, a swiftly deployable EU force of 5,000 troops, and security against cyberattacks.

Borrell highlighted that the document on a coordinated common security and defense policy, which has been drafted for over two years, “is not the answer to the Ukrainian war, but it is part of the answer.”

Moldova’s Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu will also attend the meeting in person, and Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov will participate via video link.

Since the start of the war on Feb. 24, the EU has allocated €500 million ($552.5 million) in humanitarian aid to Ukrainians.

The measures target a total of 785 individuals and 14 entities, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and military officers.

The sanctions also restrict the export of luxury goods to Russia, exclude Russian and Belarusian banks from the SWIFT international banking system, and prevent the broadcast of Sputnik and RT news outlets.

According to UN estimates, there have been 902 civilian deaths and 1,459 injuries in Ukraine so far.

However, it has warned that the true toll is likely much higher because it was unable to access areas of increased hostilities.

According to the UN refugee agency, over 3.48 million Ukrainians fled to neighboring countries.

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