Britain, the US and the European Union are preparing to impose new sanctions against Russia in response to the killing of civilians in northern Ukraine convicted of war crimes.
Sanctions imposed on Wednesday will target officials and their families — Vladimir Putin’s daughters, Maria Vorontsova, 36, and Katerina Tikhonova, 35, will reportedly be hit by US and European measures, as well as banks and Russian state-owned enterprises, Belaya House announced this.
The EU’s proposed sanctions would ban the purchase of Russian coal, block Russian ships from entering EU ports and halt nearly €20bn (£16bn) worth of trade.
A source at the Foreign Office in London said that applications would also come from the British side.
This comes after reports surfaced that civilians were found shot dead at close range, some with their hands tied behind their backs, lying on the streets of Bucha north of Kyiv after Russian troops withdrew from the city.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian troops had committed “the most heinous war crimes” since World War II, saying that innocent people were shot in cold blood in their homes or on the streets and run over by tanks in their vehicles, while many women were raped.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said economic action has so far had a “chilling effect” and “pushing the Russian economy back into the Soviet era.”
She said the sanctions had frozen more than $350bn (£266bn) of Putin’s “war chest”, leaving more than 60% of the $604bn (£459bn) reserves unavailable to the scheme.
She will join her NATO counterparts in Brussels on Wednesday ahead of a plenary meeting of the alliance’s foreign ministers on Thursday.
The meeting took place after British military intelligence warned of a humanitarian disaster in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, which was besieged and shelled by Russian troops.
The Defense Ministry said the humanitarian situation in the city continued to deteriorate as most of the remaining 160,000 residents were left without electricity, communications, medicines, heating and water.
Health Minister Sajid Javid said the image of a Ukrainian mother writing contact details on her two-year-old daughter’s back in case she and the rest of her family are killed in the conflict “strengthens the resolve of all of us.
Boris Johnson has made a direct appeal to the Russian people to reject Putin’s war in Ukraine, which he called a “blot” on his country’s honor.
In a video message, the prime minister urged Russians to download virtual private networks so they can bypass the Kremlin’s control of the media and see for themselves the atrocities committed in their name.
Speaking in Russian, Johnson told Russia: “Your president is accused of committing war crimes. But I can’t believe he’s acting on your behalf.
His intervention came after Zelenskiy used a dramatic appeal to the UN Security Council to call for the creation of a special tribunal modeled on the Nuremberg Tribunals, which was used to try key Nazis to bring those responsible to justice.
In response, the Kremlin said that the footage of civilians allegedly killed by Russian soldiers in Bucha was a “fake” staged by the Ukrainians themselves.
But the UK Department of Defense said analysis of satellite imagery from March 21, when the city was still under Russian occupation, showed at least eight bodies lying in the street.
In his message, Mr. Johnson said the “atrocities” committed by Russian troops, including the rape and murder of innocent civilians, were so shocking that Mr. Putin deliberately sought to hide the truth from his people.
“Your president knows that if you could see what’s going on, you wouldn’t support his war,” he said.
“He knows that these crimes betray the trust of every Russian mother, who proudly says goodbye to her son when he leaves for the army.
“And he knows that they are a stain on the honor of Russia itself. A stain that will grow larger and more indelible with each passing day as this war continues.
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Additional Press Association reporting