Update on the Russian invasion of Ukraine

(Paris) Situation on the ground, international reactions, sanctions: update on the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

Posted at 1:09 p.m.
Updated at 8:05 p.m.

New sanctions against Russia

The EU decided on Thursday an embargo on Russian coal and the closure of European ports to Russian ships, as part of a fifth salvo of sanctions against Moscow, announced the French presidency of the Council of the EU.

At the same time, the EU has offered to increase funding to provide arms to Ukraine by 500 million euros, which would be increased to a total of 1.5 billion since the start of the invasion.

In a vote in Congress, the United States formally revoked the trade status of Russia and Belarus on Thursday, paving the way for punitive tariffs.

The congressional bill also requires the United States to call for Russia’s suspension from the World Trade Organization.

The G7 countries also announced new economic sanctions against Russia on Thursday, including a ban on new investment in key sectors.

UN suspends Russia from Human Rights Council

The UN General Assembly, made up of 193 member countries, on Thursday suspended Russia from its seat on the UN Human Rights Council, in a vote that garnered 93 votes in favor.

Twenty-four countries voted against this suspension – the second in UN history after the ousting of Libya in 2011 – initiated by the United States. And 58 countries abstained.

US President Joe Biden “applauded” this vote in a statement, saying that “Russia’s lies do not hold up against the indisputable evidence of what is happening in Ukraine. »

“Indications of rape, torture, executions – with in some cases desecrated bodies – are an insult to humanity,” he added.

5,000 dead in Mariupol

Proclaimed the city’s “new mayor” only on Wednesday by pro-Russian forces in Mariupol, Konstantin Ivashchenko delivered his report to the Russian state agency TASS on Thursday, estimating the civilian losses at “about 5,000 people”, while ” approximately 60-70% of the housing stock has been destroyed or partially destroyed”.

He also estimated that 250,000 people had left the city but that at least as many, possibly 300,000, remained behind. Ukraine instead estimates that 100,000 people are still in the city, where the humanitarian situation is catastrophic.

26 bodies found in rubble

Twenty-six bodies have been discovered by Ukrainian rescue workers in the rubble of two bombed apartment buildings in Borodianka, northwest of Kyiv, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova announced on Thursday.

“Only the civilian population was targeted: there is no military site” in this locality recently taken over by Ukrainian forces after the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Kyiv region, she said.

An investigation into Boutcha, “next step”

An investigation into the circumstances of the deaths of people dressed in civilian clothes, found dead in Boutcha by the Ukrainian authorities after the withdrawal of the Russian army, is “the next step”, a senior UN official said on Thursday.

Russian communications intercepted

The German intelligence services (BND) have recorded radio communications from Russian soldiers in which they discuss the abuses committed in Boutcha, the magazine der Spiegel said on Thursday.

In one of the radio messages referred to by der Spiegel, a soldier explains to another that he and his colleagues shot down a person on a bicycle. In another, a man says: “First we interrogate the soldiers, then we shoot them”.

Last chance to evacuate the East

The coming days will be “the last chance” for civilians in eastern Ukraine to evacuate the region, local authorities warned on Thursday.

“All the free towns in the Luhansk region are under enemy fire,” warned its governor, Serguii Gaïdaï, indicating that the Russians “were in the process of cutting off all possible exit routes”.

Evacuation trains for the population of the East were blocked Thursday by Russian strikes on the only railway line remaining under Ukrainian control, announced the director of the Ukrainian railways Olexander Kamishin.

Financial support from Canada

Canada has budgeted additional resources to support Ukraine, including a loan of “up to one billion Canadian dollars” (730 million euros) to the Zelensky government via the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as an additional military aid of 500 million Canadian dollars.

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