As a new Russian offensive is feared in eastern Ukraine, Russia has been suspended from the UN Human Rights Council and a new round of economic sanctions have been taken by the European Union and the G7 against Moscow. Here’s what to remember from Thursday, April 7.
Russia suspended from UN Human Rights Council
It is a historic decision. The UN General Assembly suspended Russia from its seat on the Human Rights Council. of the United Nations because of the invasion of Ukraine. A decision “illegal”reacted the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Of the 193 member countries, 93 voted for, 24 against and 58 abstained. But abstentions were not taken into account in the two-thirds majority required among the only votes for and against. It is the second suspension in UN history, following Libya’s ouster in 2011.
European Union approves embargo on Russian coal
A fifth round of sanctions against Moscow. The representatives of the Twenty-Seven have decided on an embargo on Russian coal and the closure of European ports to Russian ships, announced the French Presidency of the Council of the EU. This package “very substantial” 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.
The G7 also announced new sanctions. “We prohibit new investments in key industries of the Russian economy, including energy”say its members (Germany, Canada, the United States, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the European Union) in a statement, also announcing “additional sanctions against the Russian defense sector” and against “elites” who support the war. On the US side, they officially revoked the trade status of Russia and Belarus, paving the way for punitive tariffs against these two countries.
Evacuations of civilians under the bombs in eastern Ukraine
Fearing an offensive against these eastern regions, the Ukrainian authorities have again called on the civilian population to leave them. “The next few days may be the last chance to leave. All free towns in the Lugansk region are under enemy fire” and Russian forces are “cutting off all possible ways out”, warned on Facebook its governor, Serguiï Gaïdaï. He assured that Ukrainian officials would not allow there to be in the East a “Second Mariupol”.
The city of Severodonetsk, the most easterly held by Ukrainian forces, is shelled by Russian troops. AFP journalists saw civilians evacuated by bus, while explosions sounded regularly on its outskirts. Evacuation trains have been blocked by Russian strikes on the only railway line remaining under Ukrainian control, announced the director of Ukrainian railways Olexander Kamishin.
After Boutcha, heavy balance sheets Borodianka, near kyiv, and Mariupol
Twenty-six bodies have been extracted by Ukrainian rescuers from the rubble of two bombed apartment buildings in Borodianka, northwest of kyiv, announced the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Iryna Venediktova. It is “the most destroyed city in the region” of the capital, she said on Facebook. The situation is there “much more horrible” than in Boutcha, where massacres of civilians have been committed, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
In Mariupol, a port city besieged and devastated by the Russian army since the end of February and where some 100,000 inhabitants are still hiding, the “new mayor” proclaimed by the pro-Russian forces announced that“about 5,000 people” had died among the civilian population. The Ukrainian authorities have put forward much heavier tolls.
Ukraine asks NATO for weapons “now” or “it will be too late”
Ukraine needs weapons from NATO countries “now” to repel the Russian offensive, or “it will be too late”declared its Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kouleba during a meeting of the Atlantic Alliance in Brussels. “I have no doubt that Ukraine will have the necessary weapons to fight. The question is when”, he insisted after meeting his counterparts from NATO countries. He demanded with the same urgency the cessation of oil and gas purchases from Russia.
The Kremlin recognizes “significant losses” within the Russian army
During an interview on UK channel Sky News, Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, has recognized “significant losses” within the Russian army deployed in Ukraine, without quantifying them. “It’s a huge tragedy for us.” Russia has been very tight-lipped about the extent of its losses since the start of the invasion of Ukraine. The latest official report, communicated on March 29, reported 1,351 dead and 3,825 injured.