Six Russian Warships Sailing From Mediterranean To Black Sea For Drills

 Six Russian Warships Sailing From Mediterranean To Black Sea For Drills

Ukraine is pressing NATO for more weapons amid expectations that Russia is repositioning its forces before launching a major offensive in southeastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba met with NATO foreign ministers in Brussels on April 7, as well as with ministers from the Group of Seven, who pledged “additional restrictive measures” on Russia and a “readiness to assist further, including with military equipment and financial means, to allow Ukraine to defend itself against Russia’s aggression and to rebuild Ukraine. “

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The G7, which comprises Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, also condemned “in the strongest terms” what it calls the “atrocities” committed by Russia in the town of Bucha and other areas of Ukraine.

“Haunting images of civilian deaths, victims of torture, and apparent executions, as well as reports of sexual violence and destruction of civilian infrastructure, show the true face of Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine and its people,” foreign ministers from the G7 said in a joint statement on April 7.

“The massacres in the town of Bucha and other Ukrainian towns will be inscribed in the list of atrocities and severe violations of international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights, committed by the aggressor on Ukrainian soil,” it added.

Kuleba said he and G7 ministers had discussed how they could take military, economic, and humanitarian assistance for Ukraine to the next level.

“Ukraine proposes a fair deal: the world provides us with all the support we require; we fight and defeat [Russian President Vladimir] Putin in Ukraine, ” he said on Twitter after the meeting in Brussels.

Kuleba called for the dispatch of more planes, air-defense systems, missiles, and military vehicles from NATO allies.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in Brussels that Washington will not let anything stand in the way of sending Ukraine more of the weapons it needs in its fight against Russia.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said NATO was discussing how to increase its aid to Ukraine with “different military weapons.”

“We are looking closely with our partners at how we can support Ukraine in the future, more intensively and more coordinated, because they have a right of self-defense and we will support this right of self-defense together with different partners,” she said. at the NATO meeting.

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Ukraine of derailing talks with Russia by changing its negotiating stance. He accused Ukraine of walking back its proposal that international guarantees of its security do not apply to Crimea.

Russian illegally annexed the Black Sea peninsula in 2014 and wants Ukraine to acknowledge Moscow’s sovereignty over it.

Lavrov also accused Ukraine of modifying a provision in a draft deal it had submitted earlier that said that military drills on Ukrainian territory could be organized with the consent of all guarantor countries, including Russia.

Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak, however, rejected Lavrov’s claims, saying Lavrov was not directly involved in negotiations and his statements were “of purely propagandistic significance.”

Podolyak told Reuters that Moscow was trying to divert attention away from the events in Bucha.

“That is how any such statements should be looked at,” he said.

Russia is facing its most difficult situation in three decades due to unprecedented Western sanctions, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said on April 7.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that despite the waves of sanctions already imposed on Russia, the West needed to ratchet up sanctions further – while also putting an end to Russian oil and gas imports – to force Moscow to end its aggression.

Economic concerns should not come above punishment for civilian killings that the West condemns as “war crimes,” he said.

“Once and for all, we can teach Russia and any other potential aggressors that those who choose war always lose,” Zelenskiy said in an address to the Greek parliament. “Those who blackmail Europe with economic and energy crisis always lose.”

Washington on April 6 announced new measures, including sanctions on Putin’s two adult daughters and a major bank. However, the European Union failed to approve a new round of measures, including a ban on Russian coal imports, on April 6, though Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat, said the package could be passed on either later on April 7 or April 8. .

WATCH: Current Time asked people in several cities across Russia: “Did you hear about the Ukrainian city of Bucha?” Many echoed the Kremlin’s line that images of atrocities were “fake.” Some Russians, however, expressed shock and called the killings “horrible,” while others were too afraid to share their true feelings.

Speaking at the April 7 NATO meeting, Borrell also said the EU would discuss an embargo on Russian oil, possibly on April 11.

The pressure to hit Moscow harder follows international condemnation of apparent executions of civilians in the streets of Bucha.

Local officials say more than 300 people were killed by Russian forces in Bucha alone, and around 50 of them were executed. Moscow denies the accusations.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said he has summoned Russia’s ambassador to Paris over an “obscene” tweet that tried to portray the massacre in Bucha as fake.

“Faced with the obscene and provocative communication from the Russian Embassy in France on the Bucha atrocities, I have decided to summon the Russian ambassador,” France’s top diplomat said in a tweet on April 7.

After pulling out of areas near Kyiv, Russian forces are now regrouping to gain full control over the eastern breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, Ukrainian officials say. The besieged southern port of Mariupol, where its mayor said over 100,000 civilians are still trapped, was also a target.

“Evacuate! The chances of saving yourself and your family from Russian death are dwindling every day,” said Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of the Luhansk region.

WATCH: The village of Borodyanka, 50 kilometers from Kyiv, was severely damaged by Russian air strikes. According to Prosecutor-General Iryna Venediktova, the worst situation with civilian casualties is in Borodyanka. Collapsed buildings have not been cleared and the number of victims has not yet been determined. RFE / RL’s Ukrainian Service reporter Levko Stek listened to locals’ stories about what Russian troops did in the city.

Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said 10 evacuation corridors were agreed on April 7 but that Mariupol residents would need their own vehicles to leave.

The US Senate planned to take up legislation on April 7 to end normal trade relations with Russia and to codify President Joe Biden’s executive action banning imports of Russian oil. The trade suspension would allow Biden to enact higher tariffs on certain Russian imports.

The United States and the United Kingdom boycotted an informal meeting on April 6 of the UN Security Council called by Russia to press its baseless claims that the US has biological warfare laboratories in Ukraine.

But the head of Ukraine’s presidential office, Andriy Yermak, said on April 6 that its allies must go further.

“Sanctions against Russia must be ruinous enough for us to end this terrible war,” he said. “My goal is to impose an embargo on the supply to Russia of technology, equipment, minerals, and ores (and) rare earth dual-use minerals and thus stop the production of weapons in Russia.”

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, AP, and dpa

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