Russia, accused of ‘war crimes’ in Ukraine, suffered a setback at the UN on Thursday where it was barred from the Human Rights Commission, while kyiv urged civilians to flee parts of the east, threatened by a Russian offensive. The EU has approved an embargo on Russian coal. Europe 1 takes stock of the situation on the 43rd day of the Russian invasion.
Russia, accused of ‘war crimes’ in Ukraine, suffered a setback at the UN on Thursday where it was barred from the Human Rights Commission, while kyiv urged civilians to flee parts of the east, threatened by a Russian offensive. The General Assembly of the United Nations, which brings together all the member countries and within which there is no right of veto, adopted by a fairly large majority the suspension of Russia from the Human Rights Council , the second in the history of the UN after the ouster of Libya in 2011. The vote, with 93 votes in favor, was however less massive than when 141 countries condemned the invasion in early March. triggered by Moscow.
At the end of the day, the European Union approved an embargo on Russian coal, and decided to close access to European ports to Russian ships. Here’s what to remember about the Russian invasion on Day 43.
A “much more horrible” situation in Borodianka than in Boutcha
The situation in Borodianka, a locality northwest of kyiv recently taken over by the Ukrainians from the Russians, is “much more horrible” than in Boutcha, where massacres of civilians have been committed, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday evening. . “There are more victims” in this small town than in Boutcha, also northwest of the capital, Volodymyr Zelensky added in a video message.
500 million euros of additional weapons for Ukraine, offers the EU
The head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell has proposed to increase funding by 500 million euros to supply arms to Ukraine, European Council President Charles Michel announced on Thursday, expressing his “support” for this initiative. “Once swiftly approved, this proposal will increase EU aid to Ukraine for military equipment to €1.5 billion,” tweeted the official who represents the EU27.
Thanks and support to @JosepBorrellF for your proposal to top up the #EuropeanPeaceFacility with a further €500M. Once swiftly approved this will bring to 1.5 billion the EU support already provided for military equipment for #Ukraine. @ZelenskyyUa
— Charles Michel (@eucopresident) April 7, 2022
The EU decides on an embargo on Russian coal
The representatives of the Twenty-Seven decided on Thursday an embargo on Russian coal and the closure of European ports to Russian ships, as part of a fifth salvo of sanctions against Moscow, announced the French presidency of the Council of the EU.
This “very substantial” package also provides for the ban on exports to Russia, in particular of high-tech goods, up to 10 billion euros, and new sanctions against Russian banks, according to the same source. It had been proposed by the Commission after the discovery of dozens of corpses of civilians last weekend in Boutcha, near kyiv.
26 bodies discovered near kyiv
Twenty-six bodies have been extracted by Ukrainian rescue workers from the rubble of two bombed apartment buildings in Borodianka, northwest of kyiv, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova announced on Thursday. It is “the most destroyed city in the region” of the capital, she pointed out on Facebook, adding that “it is difficult to predict how many deaths there will be” in total in Borodyanka, where ” only the civilian population was targeted”.
Mariupol: around 5,000 civilians killed, between 60 and 70% of homes destroyed
The “new mayor” proclaimed by the pro-Russian forces in Mariupol announced Thursday that “about 5,000 people” had died among the civilian population of this Ukrainian city, besieged for weeks by the Russian army and its separatist allies. “About 60 to 70% of the housing stock has been destroyed or partially destroyed,” added Konstantin Ivashchenko, appointed head of the city on Wednesday by Denis Pushilin, leader of the Donetsk separatists. The Ukrainian authorities have put forward much heavier tolls.
An investigation into Boutcha at the UN
An investigation into the circumstances of the deaths of people dressed in civilian clothes, found dead in Boutcha by the Ukrainian authorities after the withdrawal of the Russian army, is “the next step”, a senior UN official said on Thursday.
Ukraine calls for weapons
The head of Ukrainian diplomacy Dmytro Kouleba on Thursday asked NATO members to quickly provide him with all the weapons his country needs to fight Russian forces. “I come to ask for three things: weapons, weapons and weapons. The faster they are delivered, the more lives will be saved and destruction avoided,” he pleaded.
Russia expelled from UN Human Rights Council
The UN General Assembly, made up of 193 member countries, on Thursday suspended Russia from its seat on the UN Human Rights Council, in a vote that garnered 93 votes in favor. Twenty-four countries voted against this suspension – the second in the history of the UN after the ousting of Libya in 2011 -, initiated by the United States. And 58 countries abstained.
The United States believes that Russia is continuing to commit “atrocities” in Ukraine “at this very moment,” US Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said Thursday after a NATO meeting.
“Last chances” to evacuate the East
The coming days will be “the last chance” for civilians in eastern Ukraine to evacuate the region, local authorities warned on Thursday. “All the free towns in the Lugansk region are under enemy fire,” warned its governor, Serguiï Gaïdaï, indicating that the Russians “were in the process of cutting off all possible exit routes”. The new call to evacuate concerns the entire Donbass area, as well as the neighboring region of Kharkiv, and in particular the city of Severodonetsk, the easternmost held by Ukrainian forces, regularly pounded by Russian forces.
US, G7 and EU sanctions
By a vote in Congress, the United States officially revoked the trade status of Russia and Belarus on Thursday, paving the way for punitive tariffs. The congressional bill also requires the United States to call for Russia’s suspension from the World Trade Organization.
The G7 countries also announced new economic sanctions against Russia on Thursday, including a ban on new investment in key sectors. The European Union has approved an embargo on Russian coal.
kyiv accuses Hungary of ‘helping Putin’
kyiv accused Hungary on Thursday of “helping Putin” in the war against Ukraine, the day after President Viktor Orban declared himself ready to buy Russian gas in rubles, unlike other countries of the European Union. “If Hungary really wants to end the war, this is what it must do: stop destroying the unity of the EU, support new sanctions against Russia, help Ukraine militarily”, lambasted the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko. “And not create additional sources of financing for the Russian military machine”.
France summons Russian ambassador
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian again summoned the Russian ambassador to Paris on Thursday, after a tweet deemed “indecent” by the embassy on the abuses committed in the Ukrainian town of Boutcha. The embassy released a since-removed tweet titled “film set” and accompanied by a photo showing a crowd of journalists in what appears to be a street in Boutcha, suggesting the killings of civilians were staged.
At least two buses chartered by the authorities evacuated a few dozen people, mostly elderly, on Wednesday. Pavlo Kirilenko, governor of the Donetsk region still under Ukrainian control, assured Wednesday that the population was beginning to respond to evacuation calls. “They are listening. The road (for the evacuation) is more borrowed,” he said in a video posted on his Facebook page.
The Ukrainian authorities fear in the east of the country a situation similar to that of Mariupol in the south, where thousands of people still trapped in this city besieged and bombarded for weeks, live a hell.
A convoy of seven buses and about 40 private vehicles under the protection of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) arrived on Wednesday from southeastern Ukraine to Zaporozhye (south), noted an AFP journalist. . “Those who were part of the convoy had managed to flee Mariupol”, explained the Red Cross, whose one of the teams responsible for helping to evacuate civilians had been “detained” by the police on Monday in a locality under Russian control. , then forced to turn back.
“No water, no electricity”
“These people have really lived through the worst,” ICRC spokesperson Lucile Marbeau told AFP. “We hear people saying that they had to leave Mariupol on foot. Over there, in Mariupol, there is still no food, no water, no electricity.” “There was very heavy shelling. That’s why we were delayed,” said one of the evacuees, Iryna Nikolayenko, who was able to force her way out of this port city during a break in the fighting. .
“A week ago, conservative estimates put the death toll at 5,000,” the Mariupol city council wrote on Telegram on Wednesday. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday accused Russia of blocking humanitarian access to Mariupol to hide the “thousands” of victims in this city.
“I think one of the main reasons why we can’t get humanitarian aid into Mariupol is that until everything has been ‘cleaned up’ by the Russian soldiers, they are afraid the world will see what’s going on there,” Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with Turkish television channel Habertürk.
Russia has been accused of “war crimes” after dozens of corpses were discovered in several localities near kyiv, including Boutcha, after Russian forces withdrew. “What is happening is nothing less than major war crimes. Responsible nations must come together to hold those responsible to account,” US President Joe Biden said in Washington on Wednesday, pledging ” to stifle for years” the economic development of Russia.
The United States announced on Wednesday a new round of economic and financial sanctions against Russia, which it describes as “devastating” and which notably target the big banks and the daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In addition to banning all new investments in Russia, a measure known since Tuesday, the American executive will impose the most severe constraints on the essential public bank Sberbank and the largest private bank in the country, Alfa Bank .
And in Europe, European Council President Charles Michel said on Wednesday that the EU should “sooner or later” impose sanctions on Russian oil and gas. Several European countries very dependent on Russian gas, Germany in the lead, are however very reluctant to such a measure which would heavily penalize their economies.
Risk of default, collapse of the auto sector, inflation… After weeks of increasingly tough sanctions, the Russian economy is beginning to crack, according to data published on Wednesday. For Timothy Ash, analyst of Blue Bay Asset, ” Putin is impoverishing Russia for years.” The conflict shows no sign of abating. NATO discussed the subject during a meeting which opened on Wednesday in Brussels of the foreign ministers of the member states of the Alliance.
“War can last a long time, several months or even years. And that is why we have to be prepared for a long journey in terms of supporting Ukraine, maintaining sanctions and strengthening our defenses”, declared in opening its secretary general Jens Stoltenberg.