Saturday, May 21, 2022

Germany says West to agree more sanctions on Russia after Bucha killings

  • German minister urges tougher EU stance on gas imports
  • Ukraine demands tougher sanctions on Russia
  • Russia says West has declared economic war

LVIV, Ukraine, April 3 (Reuters) – Germany said on Sunday that the West would agree to impose more sanctions on Russia in the coming days after Ukraine accused Russian forces of war crimes near Kyiv, ratcheting up the already vast economic pressure on Russia over its invasion.

Russia’s economy is facing the gravest crisis since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union after the United States and its allies imposed crippling sanctions due to Putin’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

Russia on Sunday denied its forces were responsible for the deaths of civilians in the town of Bucha and said Ukraine had staged a performance for the Western media.

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Reuters saw corpses strewn across the town. One appeared to have his hands bound by the white cloth, and to have been shot in the mouth. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused Russia of carrying out a “genocide”. read more

The West warned of more sanctions.

“Putin and his supporters will feel the consequences” of their actions, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a statement to reporters in the chancellery.

German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said the European Union should talk about ending Russian gas imports. read more

Germany, Europe’s largest economy, has so far resisted calls to impose an embargo on energy imports from Russia, saying its economy and that of other European countries are too dependent on them. Russia supplies 40% of Europe’s gas needs.

The United States said that those responsible for any war crimes must be held responsible, Britain said it was stepping up its sanctions and France condemned “massive abuses” by Russian forces in Ukraine.

SANCTIONS

The Kremlin says the West’s sanctions – the most burdensome in modern history – amount to a declaration of economic war and that Moscow will now look eastwards to partners such as China and India.

Largely cut off from the West’s economies, Russia is facing the biggest economic contraction for decades while prices are rising. Putin said that the West understands nothing about Russia if it thinks Russians will give in to sanctions.

Still, cutting off Russian gas – or more of Russia’s natural resources – would wipe out growth in Europe’s biggest economies, send energy prices to records and propel an inflationary shockwave through the global economy.

Russia, which has supplied gas to Europe since the 1970s, would be deprived of hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign currency earnings. It would likely toughen its response to the “economic war” of the West.

“The world is much bigger than Europe – and in Russia is much bigger than Europe – so sooner or later we will have a dialogue no matter what people across the ocean want,” Kremlin fact Dmitry Peskov told Channel One state television.

Ukraine called for a full oil, gas and coal embargo, a ban on Russian vessels and cargos and the disconnection of all Russian banks from SWIFT.

Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine has killed thousands of people and displaced millions.

Putin says the “special military operation” in Ukraine is necessary because the United States was using Ukraine to threaten Russia and Moscow had to defend against the persecution of Russian-speaking people by Ukraine.

Ukraine says Moscow launched a war of aggression and that Putin’s claims of persecution are nonsense.

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Writing by Guy Faulconbridge Editing by Alexandra Hudson

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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