Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has harangued his allies to muster the will to take tougher action against Moscow, as the European Union on Thursday set to discuss a new round of sanctions and a possible ban on Russian coal .
The new sanctions are believed to be part of the response to atrocities, including executions and torture, which appear to have been carried out by Russian forces before they withdrew from areas outside kyiv. Russia has denied responsibility, saying the atrocities were fabricated or committed by Ukrainians.
“Russian troops have changed tactics and are trying to remove the killed people from the streets and basements of the occupied territory,” Zelensky said in his Wednesday night address. They would not succeed in hiding evidence, he said, “because they killed a lot. Liability cannot be avoided.
Europe and the United States have moved to supply more weapons to the Ukrainian army and further ostracize Russia economically with new sanctions, including restrictions on its main banks and the assets of President Vladimir’s children. V. Putin. Russia appears to be getting closer to defaulting on its foreign debt due to US currency restrictions.
The European Union is weighing a batch of sanctions which, if approved, would be the toughest since the Russian invasion. The bloc is also considering a ban on coal from Russia, Europe’s main fossil fuel supplier.
Deliberations on the ban and other sanctions were expected to continue on Thursday, and European Union officials and diplomats expected the measures to be approved. The process reflected the challenges of reaching an agreement among the 27 member countries on sanctions, which would also include banning Russian vessels from EU ports.
NATO foreign ministers, meeting this week, discussed how to further help Ukraine pursue the war without entangling the alliance in direct combat with Russian forces.
The war, they said, is far from over, noting that despite the poor performance of Russian forces and despite their withdrawal from areas around kyiv, they are advancing slowly and brutally in the separatist east.
“Moscow is not giving up on its ambitions in Ukraine,” said Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General.
In other major developments:
Oleg Synegubov, the state administrator of the Kharkiv military region, said on Wednesday in a post on Telegram that the Ukrainian army would evacuate two towns to the east because the fighting there was intensifying.
In the eastern region of Donetsk, at least two people were killed and five injured when Russian forces attacked a humanitarian aid site in the town of Vugledar, according to Pavlo Kyrylenko, the governor of Donetsk.
In the eastern region of Luhansk, Russian forces now control 60% of the town of Rubizhne, according to town governor Serhiy Haidai, who said the attackers had stepped up their offensive this week.
Anouchka Patil, Megan Specia, Cora Engelbrecht and Eric Schmitt contributed report.