Russia faces new raft of sanctions; humanitarian crisis worsens in Ukraine’s Mariupol

Russia faces new raft of sanctions; humanitarian crisis worsens in Ukraine’s Mariupol

The EU and U.S. are preparing to levy new sanctions on Russia after evidence emerged of war crimes allegedly committed by Russian forces in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, where some 300 civilian bodies were found on streets and in mass graves.
The sanctions from the EU will include a ban on Russian coal imports, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, which are worth $4 billion annually. The move is significant for the EU, which imported nearly 20% of its coal from Russia in 2020. Some still say this isn’t enough, as the EU continues to buy oil and gas from Russia, providing it with billions of dollars weekly.
Meanwhile, fighting and Russian airstrikes continue in the besieged eastern city of Mariupol, where aid agencies say the humanitarian crisis is worsening as residents have no access to water, power, heating, or communication.
EU readies new sanctions on Russia, targets coal imports
Russia faces a fresh raft of sanctions from the EU after evidence emerged of alleged atrocities committed against civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.
The EU is set to reveal the new sanctions this week, which will include a ban on coal imports.
“We will impose an import ban on coal from Russia, worth 4 billion euros ($4.39 billion) per year. This will cut another important revenue source for Russia,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced Tuesday.
The EU imported 19.3% of its coal from Russia in 2020, According to data from the European statistics office.
Russian airstrikes continue, humanitarian crisis worsens in Mariupol
Russian airstrikes are continuing in the besieged eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, the U.K.’s defense ministry said Wednesday.
“The humanitarian situation in the city is worsening,” a statement from the ministry posted on Twitter said, adding that the roughly 160,000 residents still trapped in the city have no electricity, heat, water, or ability to communicate with the outside world.
Russian forces have prevented humanitarian access, the ministry said, in what it described as an effort to pressure the city to surrender.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on Russians to “find the truth” and “share it.”
“Your president stands accused of committing war crimes. But I cannot believe he’s acting in your name,” Johnson said in a video directly addressing the Russian people.
Speaking in both Russian and English, he said: “The atrocities committed by Russian troops in Bucha, Irpin and elsewhere in Ukraine have horrified the world.”
He went on to outline the alleged atrocities of Russian troops: civilians massacred, women raped, bodies burned and “dumped in mass graves, or just left lying in the street.”
Ukrainian officials say that more than 300 civilians were tortured and killed by Russian troops in the town of Bucha outside Kyiv, discoveries made only after Moscow pulled out of those areas.
Graphic media images also revealed corpses of civilians in the streets — some with their hands and legs tied up — while satellite images captured mass graves.
Russia has been waging information warfare alongside its military operations.
The Russian people have been “fed a steady diet of propaganda” by Russian-state media, according to NBC News’ Ken Dilanian. The Kremlin has labeled the unprovoked and unwarranted war in Ukraine a “special military operation.”
“The reports are so shocking, so sickening, it’s no wonder your government is seeking to hide them from you,” Johnson said.
“But don’t just take my word for it,” he added, calling on them to access independent information via a VPN connection. “And when you find the truth, share it.”
— Charmaine Jacob, Joanna Tan
Intel has suspended all business operations in Russia, the U.S. chipmaker announced.
“Intel continues to join the global community in condemning Russia’s war against Ukraine and calling for a swift return to peace. Effective immediately, we have suspended all business operations in Russia,” the company said in a statement.
This follows the company’s move a month ago to suspend all shipments to Russia and Belarus.
“We are working to support all of our employees through this difficult situation, including our 1,200 employees in Russia,” it said.
Intel joins a list of growing software companies that have stopped operations or shipments to Russia, including Oracle, SAP, and IBM.
— Chelsea Ong

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