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Russia bombards and U.S. imposes sanctions as Ukraine urges decisive help

Commodities Apr 06, 2022 03:38PM ET
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6/6 © Reuters. State Emergency Service members collect ordnance after Russia's withdrawal from the area, in Bucha, Ukraine, in this still image taken from video uploaded to a social media website on April 4, 2022. State Emergency Service in Kyiv Oblast/Handout via REUTE 2/6

By Natalia Zinets and Conor Humphries

LVIV, Ukraine/DUBLIN (Reuters) - Russian forces bombarded cities in Ukraine as the United States imposed more sanctions on Wednesday after civilian killings widely condemned as war crimes and Ukraine's President urged a decisive Western response amid divisions in Europe.

Russia's 42-day-long invasion has forced more than 4 million people to flee abroad, killed or injured thousands, left a quarter of the population homeless, turned entire cities into rubble and prompted a slew of Western restrictions on Russian elites and the economy.

The new measures announced by Washington included sanctions on President Vladimir Putin's two adult daughters, days after the grim discovery of civilians shot dead at close range in Bucha, north of Kyiv, when it was retaken from Russian forces.

"We're going to keep raising the economic costs and ratchet up the pain for Putin, and further increase Russia's economic isolation," U.S. President Joe Biden said.

The United States wants Russia expelled from the Group of 20 major economies forum, and will boycott a number of meetings at the G20 in Indonesia if Russian officials show up, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was critical of some in the West and said he could not tolerate "any indecisiveness."

"The only thing that we are lacking is the principled approach of some leaders - political leaders, business leaders - who still think that war and war crimes are not something as horrific as financial losses," he told Irish lawmakers.

European Union diplomats failed to approve on Wednesday new sanctions, as technical issues needed to be addressed, including on whether a ban on coal would affect existing contracts, sources said.

EU member Hungary said it was prepared to meet a Russian request to pay roubles for its gas, breaking ranks with the rest of the bloc and highlighting the continent's reliance on imports that have held it back from a tougher response on the Kremlin.

Western policymakers have denounced the killings in Bucha as war crimes, and Ukrainian officials say a mass grave by a church there contained between 150 and 300 bodies.

Moscow denied targeting civilians there or elsewhere. Russia's foreign ministry said that images of bodies in Bucha were staged to justify more sanctions against Moscow and derail peace talks with Kyiv.

Russia says it is engaged in a "special military operation" designed to demilitarise and "denazify" Ukraine. Ukraine and Western governments reject that as a false pretext for its invasion.

Reflecting such fears, the EU executive said it had begun a stockpiling operation to boost its defences against chemical, nuclear and biological threats.

BESIEGED CITY

Ukrainian authorities said late on Wednesday they cannot help people evacuate from the eastern front line town of Izyum or send humanitarian aid because it is completely under Russian control as the east sees the worst fighting.

A siege of the southern port of Mariupol has trapped tens of thousands of residents without food, water or power.

State-owned Ukrainian Railways said there were a number of casualties after three rockets hit a station in eastern Ukraine. It did not give a precise location.

Many in the eastern town of Derhachi, just north of Kharkiv and near the border with Russia, have decided to leave while they can.

Buildings have been badly damaged by Russian artillery. Kharkiv itself has been hammered by air and rocket strikes from the start.

Mykola, a father of two in Derhachi who declined to give his surname, said he could hear the thud of bombardments every night, and had been hunkering down with his family in the corridor of their home.

"(We'll go) wherever there are no explosions, where the children won't have to hear them," he said, hugging his young son and struggling to hold back the tears.

Ukraine's military said Russian forces were continuing preparations for an eastern offensive in order to take full control of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. It said the main focus of current hostilities was Donetsk, where Russian troops were still trying to seize all of Mariupol.

Ten high-rise buildings were on fire in the eastern town of Sievierodonetsk after Russian shelling on Wednesday, the region's governor said in an online post.

NEW SANCTIONS

The new U.S. sanctions include a ban on Americans from investing in Russia.

The sanctions hit Russia's Sberbank, which holds one-third of Russia's total banking assets, and Alfabank, the country's fourth-largest financial institution, but energy transactions were exempted, U.S. officials said.

Britain also froze Sberbank's assets, and said it would ban imports of Russian coal by the end of the year.

But Europe is walking a tightrope as Russia supplies around 40% of the EU's natural gas consumption and the bloc also gets a third of its oil imports from Russia, about $700 million per day.

Germany, Europe's largest economy which relies on Russian gas for much of its energy needs, warned that while it supported ending Russian energy imports as soon as possible it could not do it overnight.

Despite the sanctions, the Russian rouble extended recovery gains on Wednesday, returning to levels seen before the invasion, shrugging off fears of a potential default on international debt as it paid dollar bondholders in roubles.

Russia bombards and U.S. imposes sanctions as Ukraine urges decisive help
 

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Comments (16)
Lye S K
Lye S K Apr 07, 2022 1:22AM ET
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Americans supply arms to Saudi to kill Yemenis children and civilians, destroy their economy and starve millions living in the country. What is happening in Ukraine pales in comparison. America spin doctors are Ukraine to hide their crimes in Yemen
jason xx
jason xx Apr 06, 2022 2:10PM ET
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Hitler wouldn't have massacred half of Europe if he was stopped when he re occupied the Rhineland. Cowards today at least should no better they been talking "never again" for 80yrs then letting it "happen again"
jason xx
jason xx Apr 06, 2022 2:06PM ET
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The west is acting so cowardly and shameful it makes me sick to my stomach
First Last
First Last Apr 06, 2022 2:06PM ET
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The society/culture that the CCP has created in China is one where people avoid/distrust the police, expect to pay bribes for everything, do not help a fellow person or report crimes witnessed, where if a motorist hits someone by accident, the motorist will run the victim over again to be sure the injured dies and can't sue.  So different from the society/culture that's in Taiwan.  Their society/culture is what Putin & Xi wants to impose on the rest of the world.
First Last
First Last Apr 06, 2022 2:06PM ET
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And that "cowardly and shameful" society/culture has been bleeding into the west, and Putin/Xi propaganda trolls on the internet/here is 1 conduit.
First Last
First Last Apr 06, 2022 2:06PM ET
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And treasonous Americans like Trump aping foreign propaganda is another conduit.
Lye S K
Lye S K Apr 06, 2022 2:06PM ET
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First Last  Remember Taiwan supports the so-called democracy fighters of  Hong Kong who fire bombed public  faciltiies, using bows and arrows to shoot at police, occupied and vandalised their universities and whacked anyone that disagreed with their views. This is the type of low-life behaviour Taiwan endorses.
PS Srinivas
PS Srinivas Apr 06, 2022 1:40PM ET
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more sanction more attack on Ukraine west is creating more trouble for Ukraine people than helping as sanction won't stop Russia from attacks. now this war is indirectly between america and Russia and in between Ukraine inexperienced president handling has pushed his country to total destruction
First Last
First Last Apr 06, 2022 1:40PM ET
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You don't seem to know what "total" means.
SS SS
SS SS Apr 06, 2022 1:40PM ET
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That is not the only thing he appears to not know.
Ac Tektrader
Ac Tektrader Apr 06, 2022 1:05PM ET
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putin won't nuke it would destroy Russia..... putin is a dictator and mafia boss; mafia bosses are brutal and murderous, not suicidal......
First Last
First Last Apr 06, 2022 1:05PM ET
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Yo might be right.  Hit ler was 56 yrs old at suizide.  Putin is 69 yrs old now, less to lose.
Mike Brarey
Mike Brarey Apr 06, 2022 11:51AM ET
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smart move, let's force Russia to nuke
First Last
First Last Apr 06, 2022 11:51AM ET
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Russia is escalating.  Russia said they'll nuke 1st.  We're just trying unsuccessfully to keep up.
Ac Tektrader
Ac Tektrader Apr 06, 2022 11:51AM ET
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putin won't nuke it would destroy Russia..... putin is a dictator and mafia boss; mafia bosses are brutal and murderous, not suicidal......
jason xx
jason xx Apr 06, 2022 11:51AM ET
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st f u traitor leave the country
First Last
First Last Apr 06, 2022 9:19AM ET
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Russia's mass ****war crime shows that Russia was never negotiating in good faith as I'd posted here.  It was just trying to delay sanctions.  Being willing to mass ****civilians shows it's been willing to burn all bridges.  Like Hit ler, Putin is going for world ******or suiside.
First Last
First Last Apr 06, 2022 9:19AM ET
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* world domi nation
First Last
First Last Apr 06, 2022 9:19AM ET
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* mass mur der
R Hunter Bidet
R Hunter Bidet Apr 06, 2022 9:19AM ET
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Sure, take at face value everything you see in the news.
First Last
First Last Apr 06, 2022 9:19AM ET
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R Hunter Bidet   Don't take at face value what despots' state medias and conspiracy nut job sites tell you
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Apr 06, 2022 9:19AM ET
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R Hunter Bidet Sure, believe that random Q-nuts have it all figured out.
Ken Roth
Ken Roth Apr 06, 2022 6:58AM ET
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All we need is Russia to leave Ukraine alone and withdraw their troops otherwise this will take years and all western countries incl. Nato will provide heavier weapons to the Free people of ukraine to fight the russians more fairly. Ukraine army is already kicking russian troops out of north eastern territories and marching to south east with better and better weapons and resolve
First Last
First Last Apr 06, 2022 6:58AM ET
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vicky kumar   Afghan withdrawal was a Trump thing.
First Last
First Last Apr 06, 2022 6:58AM ET
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Motty Philip   Yes, and vicky singled out Biden, not Trump.
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Apr 06, 2022 6:58AM ET
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First Last Look at all those down votes. The Trumper's really do live in a fantasy land.
Ken Roth
Ken Roth Apr 06, 2022 6:53AM ET
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America First was a failure after 4 years result was 10.3% unemployment rate + US isolated ouselves leaving influence and world market to china
Dominik Szaro
Dominik Szaro Apr 06, 2022 6:30AM ET
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russia should give 1/4 territory to ukraine in order to lift sanctions :)
 
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