Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russian of ‘war crimes’ as he shared harrowing footage revealing the true horrors of war during a fiery speech to the Security Council as he slammed the UN body for failing to protect Ukraine. 

Members of the UN Security Council were left in stunned silence as the Ukrainian president warned Russia had ‘committed genocide’ in the country and shared dozens of pictures of charred bodies, civillians shot dead and mass graves taken in Bucha and Mariupol in recent days. 

The wartime leader said atrocities have been carried out throughout the country, with women raped and killed in front of their families, people captured and deported to Russia and turned into ‘slaves’ in his blistering address as he demanded Putin be brought to justice for the alleged atrocities.

He called out the Security Council for failing to provide any security, demanding Russia’s expulsion from the global body and reform to ensure no further illegal invasions in the future.

The Ukrainian president asked: ‘So where is the security that the Security Council needs to guarantee? It’s not there. Although there is a Security Council and so where is the peace?

‘It is obvious that the key institution of the world which must ensure the coercion of any aggressor to peace simply cannot work effectively.’

He told of civilians being run over deliberately by tanks, people’s tongues being cut out and gang rapes being committed by invading Kremlin forces in ‘the most terrible war crimes’ since the Second World War, as he shared a harrowing video of burnt corpses and bodies stuffed in wells to the council.

People ‘were killed in their apartments, houses… civilians were crushed by tanks while sitting in their cars in the middle of the road, just for their pleasure,’ Zelensky told the Council, including Moscow’s envoy. 

In Bucha, advancing Ukrainian units met discovered hundreds of bodies strewn all over residential roads in the suburban town that was once home to 28,000 people. 

The Ukrainian president said atrocities have been carried out throughout the country, with women raped and killed in front of their families

The UN Security Council is shown a barrowing image of dog lying in the road next to its owner who has been shot dead in Bucha, Ukraine

The UN Security Council is shown a barrowing image of dog lying in the road next to its owner who has been shot dead in Bucha, Ukraine

Soldiers and investigators look at charred bodies lying on the ground in Bucha today where Russia has been accused of war crimes

Soldiers and investigators look at charred bodies lying on the ground in Bucha today where Russia has been accused of war crimes

Images showing piles of dead bodies in the besieged city of Mariupol are shown to global leaders on Tuesday

Images showing piles of dead bodies in the besieged city of Mariupol are shown to global leaders on Tuesday

Russia's envoy Vassily Nebenzia (pictured) predictably dismissed the claims as 'lies' as he repeated unfounded Kremlin claims about Nazis running Ukraine

Russia’s envoy Vassily Nebenzia (pictured) predictably dismissed the claims as ‘lies’ as he repeated unfounded Kremlin claims about Nazis running Ukraine

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres (pictured) has said Russia's invasion of Ukraine is one of the greatest challenges ever to international order

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres (pictured) has said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is one of the greatest challenges ever to international order

The Mariupol theatre lies in ruins after Russian shelling in the besieged port city

The Mariupol theatre lies in ruins after Russian shelling in the besieged port city

Nina, 74, reacts as she walks past buildings that were destroyed by Russian shelling, amid Moscow's invasion of Ukraine in Borodyanka, in the Kyiv region of Ukraine

Nina, 74, reacts as she walks past buildings that were destroyed by Russian shelling, amid Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in Borodyanka, in the Kyiv region of Ukraine

A satellite image taken of a street in the city of Bucha on March 19 - when Russian forces were in full control of the city - shows dark objects in the road that exactly match where civilian corpses were later discovered by Ukrainian troops

A satellite image taken of a street in the city of Bucha on March 19 – when Russian forces were in full control of the city – shows dark objects in the road that exactly match where civilian corpses were later discovered by Ukrainian troops

Zelensky showed pictures from Bucha displaying the mass murder of civilians at the hands of Russian soldiers

Pictures of Russian war crimes shared to UN Security Council

Zelensky showed pictures from Bucha displaying the mass murder of civilians at the hands of Russian soldiers

A mass grave was discovered in the grounds of the Church of St. Andrew and Pyervozvannoho All Saints in Bucha, containing the bodies of dozens of civilians

A mass grave was discovered in the grounds of the Church of St. Andrew and Pyervozvannoho All Saints in Bucha, containing the bodies of dozens of civilians

‘History will remember who looked the other way’: Boris Johnson pleads with Russians in their own language to seek out ‘the truth’ of Putin’s horrific war crimes in Ukraine

By David Wilcock and Jack Wright for MailOnline 

Boris Johnson tonight directly appealed to Russians in their own language to seek out ‘the truth’ of Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine, calling alleged atrocities in Bucha a ‘stain’ on the country’s global standing and warning: ‘History will remember who looked the other way’.

In a video message posted online, the British Prime Minister urged the Russian public to get round Putin’s repressive controls on the media by seeking out for themselves ‘the truth’ of what was happening from independent news outlets online.

Grisly images of what are claimed to be civilian massacres allegedly carried out by Russian forces in Bucha before they withdrew from the outskirts of Kyiv have stirred a global outcry in recent days, and prompted Western nations to expel dozens of Moscow’s diplomats and propose further sanctions, including a ban on coal imports from Russia.

Boris Johnson directly appealed to Russians in their own language to seek out ‘the truth’ of Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine

Boris Johnson directly appealed to Russians in their own language to seek out ‘the truth’ of Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine

Boris Johnson directly appealed to Russians in their own language to seek out ‘the truth’ of Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of committing ‘genocide’ in Ukraine, comparing Moscow’s military to the Islamic State terror group in a video address to the UN Security Council and demanding that Putin be brought to justice for his alleged atrocities. 

The Kremlin claimed the images of civilians were ‘fake news’ and ‘a crude forgery’ staged by the Ukrainians themselves. Moscow’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia insisted that while Bucha was under Russian control, ‘not a single local person has suffered from any violent action’. He added: ‘You only saw what they showed you. The only ones who would fall for this are Western dilettantes.’

In his message on Tuesday night, Johnson said the reports were so shocking that Putin had deliberately sought to hide the truth from his people, adding: ‘Your president knows that if you could see what was happening, you would not support his war.

‘He knows that these crimes betray the trust of every Russian mother who proudly waves goodbye to her son as he heads off to join the military. And he knows they are a stain on the honour of Russia itself. A stain that will only grow larger and more indelible every day this war continues.’

Johnson said that people only needed a VPN connection to access independent information from around the world: ‘When you find the truth, share it. Those responsible will be held to account. And history will remember who looked the other way.’

Speaking in Russian, he added: ‘Your president stands accused of committing war crimes. But I cannot believe he’s acting in your name’. 

The wartime leader said he feared Russians turning his people into ‘silent slaves’ as he said ‘hundreds of thousands’ of Ukrainians have been deported to Russia. 

Zelensky’s words were reiterated by Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S ambassador to the UN, who said tens of thousands of captured Ukrainians were being separated from family in ‘filtration camps’ where their personal possessions were confiscated. 

She told the security council: ‘I do not need to spell out what these so-called filtration camps are reminiscent of. It’s chilling, and we cannot look away’. 

Zelensky also urged reform of the UN because the current system of global security has failed, and called on world leaders to act ‘immediately’ against Russia. 

Russia’s envoy predictably dismissed the claims as ‘lies’ as he repeated unfounded Kremlin claims about Nazis running Ukraine and said allegations of atrocities have not been confirmed. 

The Kremlin claimed the images of civilians were ‘fake news’ and ‘a crude forgery’ staged by the Ukrainians themselves. Moscow’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia insisted that while Bucha was under Russian control, ‘not a single local person has suffered from any violent action’. He added: ‘You only saw what they showed you. The only ones who would fall for this are Western dilettantes.’  

Nebenzia said Moscow places ‘on your conscience the unfounded accusations against the Russian military, which are not confirmed by any eye witnesses.’ 

He rejected allegations of war crimes, claiming there are ‘flagrant inconsistencies in events shown by Ukrainian and Western media’.

The diplomat repeated disproved claims that corpses found in Bucha were not there when Russia withdrew, saying: ‘The corpses in no way resemble those that could be lying on the street for three or four days.’

But satellite images shows corpses on the street nearly two weeks before the Russian departure.

In a video address to the people of Russia on Tuesday night, Boris Johnson, speaking in Russian, said the reports were so shocking that Putin had deliberately sought to hide the truth from his people, adding: ‘Your president knows that if you could see what was happening, you would not support his war. 

‘He knows that these crimes betray the trust of every Russian mother who proudly waves goodbye to her son as he heads off to join the military. And he knows they are a stain on the honour of Russia itself. A stain that will only grow larger and more indelible every day this war continues.’

Meanwhile UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is one of the greatest challenges ever to international order.

Speaking to the Security Council in New York, the UN chief said there is mounting evidence of war crimes, rapes and sexual assaults by Putin‘s forces.

He said, referencing the piles of civilians bodies near the capital of Kyiv which emerged this weekend: ‘I will never forget the horrifying images of the civilians in Bucha.’ 

‘The war in Ukraine must stop – now,’ Guterres told the Council, after calling it ‘one of the greatest challenges ever to the international order.’

‘We need serious negotiations for peace, based on the principles of the United Nations Charter,’ he said.

Guterres said the war was putting even more pressure on the developing world, with more than 1.2billion people particularly vulnerable to to spiking food, energy and fertilizer costs. 

‘We are already seeing some countries move from vulnerability into crisis, and signs of serious social unrest,’ he added.  

UN undersecretary-general for political and peacebuilding affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo told the meeting of ‘credible’ claims Russia has used indiscriminate cluster munitions two dozen times in populated parts of Ukraine.

She said: ‘OHCHR has received credible allegations that Russian forces have used cluster munitions in populated areas at least 24 times.’

She said the global body was ‘gravely concerned by the persistent use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area,’ saying such weapons are causing the most civilian casualties in the war.

Finland and Sweden would be welcomed into NATO if they applied to join, Secretary-General Stoltenberg says – as Russia warns of retaliation 

Finland and Sweden would be welcomed into NATO if they applied to join, the head of the alliance has said today, in what would be a major blow for Russia amid Vladimir Putin’s faltering invasion of Ukraine.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO general secretary, told a news conference that the 30-member alliance would work to overcome ‘security concerns’ between the countries applying to join and being ratified – amid fears Russia would retaliate.

He spoke after Finland’s prime minister Sanna Marin said her country could take a decision on joining the alliance within weeks and polls in Sweden also showed a majority of people support membership.

If either country opts to join the alliance, it would mark an historic reconstruction of European security architecture that has held since the end of the Second World War.

Finland, which fought a short but bloody conflict with the Soviets in the build-up to World War Two, has been officially neutral since signing a pact in 1948.

As part of the pact, Finland agreed never to join a military alliance viewed as hostile to Russia, never to allow its territory to be used for an attack against Russia, and to maintain an armed forces for self-defence purposes only.

In return, the country – which shares an 830-mile border with Russia – was given guarantees by Moscow that it would not be attacked.

During a visit on Monday to Bucha, where AFP counted 20 bodies on a single street, he accused Russia of ‘war crimes’ and attempted ‘genocide’ and asked Europe to apply the ‘most severe pressure’.  

The head of NATO, meanwhile, warned that Russia is regrouping its forces in order to deploy them to eastern and southern Ukraine for a ‘crucial phase of the war,’ and said that more ‘atrocities’ may come to light as Russian troops continue to pull back in the north.

‘When and if they withdraw their troops and Ukrainian troops take over, I’m afraid they will see more mass graves, more atrocities and more examples of of war crimes,’ NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. 

Among the horrors inflicted on Bucha are a man who had his cheek cut out before being shot in the heart, another who was kidnapped and burned with a flamethrower, and a ‘torture chamber’ filled with bodies inside a children’s hospital: 

Survivors of a month-long Russian occupation – endured in cold, dark silence after Putin’s troops cut off all links with the outside world – are just now starting to emerge from basements and makeshift bunkers. 

Vladislav Kozlovsky, who returned to Bucha at the outbreak of war to care for his mother and grandmother, told The Telegraph how two men he knew had tried to escape through an abandoned glass factory but were found by the Russians. 

One was shot in the back of the head. The other had his cheek cut out before being shot in the heart.

Volodymyr Pilhutskyi, another Bucha resident, recounted how his neighbour was taken away by Russian troops because he was wearing military-style trousers which were deemed ‘suspicious’.

He was tortured and killed, Mr Pilhutskyi said, with burn marks from a flamethrower found on his body.

Ukrainian armed forces say they have now uncovered a Russian torture chamber, located inside a children’s hospital that was also being used as a makeshift barracks. 

The bodies of five men were found shot to death in the basement, a spokesman said, with their hands tied behind their backs. Some had been tortured.

Graphic images taken by Ukrainian prosecutors show the bodies of the men lying on a rubble floor surrounded by pools of dried blood. At least one appears to have been shot through the kneecap.

 

Tanya Nedashkivs'ka, 57, weeps in the street over the death of her husband who was found killed as Ukrainian forces liberated the city of Bucha, to the west of Kyiv, after a month under the occupation of Russian troops

Tanya Nedashkivs’ka, 57, weeps in the street over the death of her husband who was found killed as Ukrainian forces liberated the city of Bucha, to the west of Kyiv, after a month under the occupation of Russian troops

Ukrainian soldiers claim to have uncovered a Russian torture chamber in the basement of a children's hospital where five men - their hands tied behind their backs - were brutalised before being shot dead

Ukrainian soldiers claim to have uncovered a Russian torture chamber in the basement of a children’s hospital where five men – their hands tied behind their backs – were brutalised before being shot dead

Serhii Lahovskyi, 26, and other residents carry the body of Ihor Lytvynenko to bury him in Bucha, April 5, 2022

Serhii Lahovskyi, 26, and other residents carry the body of Ihor Lytvynenko to bury him in Bucha, April 5, 2022

Serhii Lahovskyi, 26, hugs Ludmyla Verginska, 51, as they mourn their common friend Ihor Lytvynenko, following his burial at the garden of a residential building in Bucha, April 5, 2022

Serhii Lahovskyi, 26, hugs Ludmyla Verginska, 51, as they mourn their common friend Ihor Lytvynenko, following his burial at the garden of a residential building in Bucha, April 5, 2022

People light candles as they hold a vigil for those killed in Bucha and the surrounding areas on April 5, 2022 in Lviv

People light candles as they hold a vigil for those killed in Bucha and the surrounding areas on April 5, 2022 in Lviv

Pictured: A Russian military vehicle (top-left) is seen in drone footage positioned on a road moments after a cyclist turned the corner into the street. The vehicle opened fire

Pictured: A Russian military vehicle (top-left) is seen in drone footage positioned on a road moments after a cyclist turned the corner into the street. The vehicle opened fire

Boris Johnson, Joe Biden and Scott Morrison agree to develop hypersonic missile technology in latest strengthening of AUKUS security pact that infuriated Macron 

By Jacob Thorburn for MailOnline

The UK, US and Australia today announced a new step in their partnership that will see them develop hypersonic weaponry in a bid to counteract the high-speed missiles constructed by Russia and China.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued an agreed statement on Tuesday in which they reiterated ‘unwavering commitment’ to an international system which ‘respects human rights’.

The three countries, which form the AUKUS military pact which was announced last September, committed to ‘commence new trilateral co-operation on hypersonics and counter-hypersonics, and electronic warfare capabilities, as well as to expand information sharing and to deepen co-operation on defence innovation’. 

The announcement comes after China successfully completed tests of its own version of the deadly weapon, WU-14, in recent years, as well as Russia claiming the first deployment of hypersonic missiles in an active theatre of war last month. 

Initially surrounding submarines, Mr Johnson previously suggested the alliance could go beyond that and, on Tuesday, the three leaders said: ‘We reaffirmed our commitment to Aukus and to a free and open Indo-Pacific.  

‘In light of Russia’s unprovoked, unjustified, and unlawful invasion of Ukraine, we reiterated our unwavering commitment to an international system that respects human rights, the rule of law, and the peaceful resolution of disputes free from coercion.’ 

The leaders also said they were ‘pleased with the progress’ Australia was making in the development of nuclear-powered submarines. 

They added: ‘We also committed today to commence new trilateral cooperation on hypersonics and counter-hypersonics, and electronic warfare capabilities, as well as to expand information sharing and to deepen co-operation on defence innovation.

‘These initiatives will add to our existing efforts to deepen co-operation on cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and additional undersea capabilities.

‘As our work progresses on these, and other critical defence and security capabilities, we will seek opportunities to engage allies and close partners.’

Hypersonic missiles, like traditional ballistic missiles which can deliver nuclear weapons, can fly at more than five times the speed of sound.

While ballistic missiles fly high into space in an arc to reach their target, a hypersonic weapon flies on a trajectory low in the atmosphere, potentially reaching a target more quickly.

Crucially, a hypersonic missile is manoeuvrable – like the much slower, often subsonic cruise missile – making it much harder to track and defend against.

The initial announcement of the AUKUS pact caused outrage in Paris, as the submarine deal came at the expense of a lucrative agreement between Australia and France to provide diesel-electric boats. 

As western leaders condemned the killings in Bucha, Italy, Spain and Denmark expelled dozens of Russian diplomats, following moves by Germany and France. Hundreds of Russian diplomats have been sent home since the start of the invasion, many accused of being spies.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the expulsions a ‘short-sighted’ measure that would complicate communication and warned they would be met with ‘reciprocal steps’.

In another show of support, the European Union’s executive branch proposed a ban on coal imports from Russia, in what would be the first sanctions from the bloc targeting the country’s lucrative energy industry over the war. The coal imports amount to an estimated 4 billion euros (£3.3billion) per year. 

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the EU needed to increase the pressure on Putin after what she described as ‘heinous crimes’ carried out around Kyiv, with evidence that Russian troops may have deliberately killed Ukrainian civilians.

She did not mention natural gas, with consensus among the 27 EU member countries on targeting the fuel used to generate electricity and heat homes more difficult to secure.

The EU gets about 40% of its natural gas from Russia, and many EU countries, including Germany – the bloc’s largest economy – are opposed to cutting off gas imports.

So far, Europe had not been willing to target Russian energy over fears that it would plunge the European economy into recession but the recent reports of civilian killings have increased pressure for tougher EU sanctions.

The US and the UK previously announced they were cutting off Russian oil, Poland said it plans to block imports of coal and oil from Russia, while Lithuania said it is no longer using Russian natural gas. 

It comes as drone footage revealed today appeared to show Russian tanks opening fire on a cyclist in Bucha. 

Footage of the attack in the Kyiv Oblast town shows a man walking his bicycle up a street, apparently unaware that several Russian tanks lay in wait around the corner.

Another video purportedly showed the aftermath of the attack after Bucha was reclaimed from Moscow’s clutches in recent days. In it, a person believed to be the same man can be seen dead on the side of the road next to his bicycle.

In the first video, captured on March 3, the drone appears to be watching the Russian tank column, but the footage also tracks the man as he is walking up the road that runs through a neighbourhood of destroyed or damaged buildings.

The operator of the drone repeatedly pans upwards, showing a long queue of military vehicles – including tanks, armoured personnel carriers and trucks – positioned between buildings, on the next street over from the man.

As the cyclist continues down the street – first on his bicycle and then on foot, pushing it along side him – the drone focuses more on his movement up the road.

Putin seeing red: Truss says sanctions turning Russian economy into Soviet-style mess 

‘Crippling’ Western sanctions are returning the Russian economy to a mess last seen in the communist era, Liz Truss said today as she urged the allies to tighten the screw on the Putin regime. 

The Foreign Secretary spoke after meeting the Polish counterpart Zbigniew Rau and PM Mateusz Morawiecki in Warsaw as she pushes for ‘maximum’ sanctions.

Ms Truss is expected to push for harder action at a G7 meeting on Thursday, while Boris Johnson will encourage Germany to set a date for phasing out Russian gas when he meets Chancellor Scholz in Downing Street on Friday.

Mr Morawiecki has criticised German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for focusing on the ‘voices of German businesses’ rather than the innocents slain in Ukraine. 

The Foreign Secretary highlighted the impact of the economic constrictions carried out so far on the Russian economy, saying: ‘We have frozen over 350 billion US dollars (£266billion) of Putin’s war chest, making over 60 per cent of the regime’s 604 billion US dollars (£459 billion) foreign currency reserves unavailable.

‘Our co-ordinated sanctions are pushing the Russian economy back to the Soviet era.’ 

Meanwhile, senior Tories have urged the UK to drop the commitment that only ‘defensive’ weapons should be sent to Ukraine, after Volodymyr Zelensky asked for tanks and heavy artillery.

He is shown nearing a junction in the road and turns left down a narrower street, where an armoured vehicle and a tank are positioned around 150ft away.

As soon as he turns the corner into the side road, a flash is seen from the armoured vehicle’s turret, and a rocket is shown flying through the air.

Russia’s death toll in Ukraine is nearing 20,000, Kyiv has claimed, as Ukraine continues to push back invading Kremlin troops and retake ‘key terrain’ around the capital and Chernihiv.

Putin‘s forces are retreating from major cities in the west as they refocus their efforts on the Donbas, with 60,000 Russian reservists expected to be called in to reinforce Moscow’s offensive in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk provinces claimed by separatists.

The brutal siege of Mariupol is continuing where the Ukrainian civilian death toll has risen to 5,000, while a nitric acid tank in Rubizhne, Luhansk, has been shelled, forcing civilians to remain inside their homes with their windows shut. 

A red and brown cloud of poisonous smoke prompted warnings to residents to wear wet face masks after the release of the dangerous chemical, which both sides blamed on the other. 

Luhansk governor Sergiy Gaiday said Russia is planning a major attack in the region as he ordered a mass evacuation, saying: ‘We understand that they are preparing for a full-scale big breakthrough. Please don’t wait for your homes to be bombed.’

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s general staff said Russia has again used banned cluster munitions in Mykolaiv, targeting civilian buildings including a children hospital in a horrific attack which has killed 11 and wounded 61.  

British defence officials said ‘low-level fighting is likely to continue in some parts of the newly recaptured regions, but diminish significantly over this week as the remainder of Russian forces withdraw’ from Kyiv and Chernihiv.

In an intelligence update posted online, the UK says many of the Russian units ‘are likely to require significant re-equipping and refurbishment before being available to redeploy for operations in eastern Ukraine.’ 

It comes as the UK, US and Australia today announced a new step in their partnership that will see them develop hypersonic weaponry in a bid to counteract the high-speed missiles constructed by Russia and China.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, US President Joe Biden, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued an agreed statement on Tuesday in which they reiterated ‘unwavering commitment’ to an international system which ‘respects human rights’.

The three countries, which form the AUKUS military pact which was announced last September, committed to ‘commence new trilateral co-operation on hypersonics and counter-hypersonics, and electronic warfare capabilities, as well as to expand information sharing and to deepen co-operation on defence innovation’. 

The announcement comes after China successfully completed tests of its own version of the deadly weapon, WU-14, in recent years, as well as Russia claiming the first deployment of hypersonic missiles in an active theatre of war last month. 

Initially surrounding submarines, Mr Johnson previously suggested the alliance could go beyond that and, on Tuesday, the three leaders said: ‘We reaffirmed our commitment to Aukus and to a free and open Indo-Pacific.  

‘In light of Russia’s unprovoked, unjustified, and unlawful invasion of Ukraine, we reiterated our unwavering commitment to an international system that respects human rights, the rule of law, and the peaceful resolution of disputes free from coercion.’ 

Russia has shelled a nitric acid tank in Rubizhne as the chairman of Luhansk ordered everyone to remain inside and close their windows

Russia has shelled a nitric acid tank in Rubizhne as the chairman of Luhansk ordered everyone to remain inside and close their windows

A red and yellow cloud of poisonous smoke prompted warnings to residents to wear wet face masks after the suspected deliberate shelling of a dangerous chemical

A red and yellow cloud of poisonous smoke prompted warnings to residents to wear wet face masks after the suspected deliberate shelling of a dangerous chemical

A red and yellow cloud of poisonous smoke prompted warnings to residents to wear wet face masks after the suspected deliberate shelling of a dangerous chemical

A Ukrainian service member walks near an abandoned Russian tank in Vablya in Kyiv region, April 5, 2022

A Ukrainian service member walks near an abandoned Russian tank in Vablya in Kyiv region, April 5, 2022

Field engineers of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine stand next to destroyed armoured vehicles on a street in the town of Bucha, on the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, April 5, 2022

Field engineers of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine stand next to destroyed armoured vehicles on a street in the town of Bucha, on the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, April 5, 2022

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said that even though Ukraine is taking back the capital, he urged civilians not to return for 'at least another week', with explosives left around the city. Pictured: teams work to clear explosives

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko said that even though Ukraine is taking back the capital, he urged civilians not to return for ‘at least another week’, with explosives left around the city. Pictured: teams work to clear explosives

The wreckage of a car is seen at the central square of Borodianka, northwest of Kyiv, as Russian troops start to withdraw from the capital

The wreckage of a car is seen at the central square of Borodianka, northwest of Kyiv, as Russian troops start to withdraw from the capital

A body is carried at a school in Bucha where Russia has been accused of carrying out war crimes after piles of corpses were found following Ukraine's recapture

A body is carried at a school in Bucha where Russia has been accused of carrying out war crimes after piles of corpses were found following Ukraine’s recapture

Other measures proposed by the EU’s executive arm include sanctions on more individuals and four key Russian banks, including the second-largest, VTB.

‘These four banks, which we now totally cut off from the markets, represent 23% of market share in the Russian banking sector,’ Von der Leyen said. ‘This will further weaken Russia’s financial system.’

If the proposal is adopted unanimously by all 27 EU countries, the new package of sanctions would also ban Russian vessels and Russian-operated vessels from EU ports, with exceptions for essentials such as agricultural and food products, and humanitarian aid and energy.

Further targeted export bans worth 10 billion euros (£8.3 billion) have been proposed in sectors covering quantum computers, advanced semiconductors, sensitive machinery and transportation equipment.

Von der Leyen said: ‘With this, we will continue to degrade Russia’s technological base and industrial capacity.’

According to EU trade commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, 62% of Russia’s exports to the EU were hydrocarbons last year.

‘If we really want to affect Russia’s economy, that’s where we need to look,’ he said. ‘And that’s exactly what is subject to discussions concerning this sanctions package.’

Because of its climate ambitions, the EU has been moving away from coal. Coal use fell from 1.2 billion tons a year to 427 million tons between 1990 and 2020, but imports rose from 30% to 60% of coal use.

The European Union gets about 25% of its oil from Russia, while the EU imported 53% of hard coal from the country in 2020, which accounted for 30% of the EU’s hard coal consumption.

Russian coal would be easier to replace than Russian gas because coal comes by ship and there are multiple global suppliers. Germany’s association of coal importers said in March that Russian coal could be replaced ‘in a few months’.

Analysts at the Bruegel think tank said in March that Germany and Poland were particularly reliant on Russian coal for power generation and that ‘Russian coal can be replaced because global markets are well supplied and flexible’.

But they added that ‘replacing Russian coal imports will require the lightspeed deployment of new supply chains to bring the right type of coal where it is needed. Most European coal users already source from different suppliers and should be able to build on existing relationships’.

But the switch would mean more import demand from Europe and higher global coal prices, with significant effects on emerging and developed economies that also rely on coal.



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