Ukraine urges more pressure on Russia
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Ukraine urges more pressure on Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has told international business leaders that the world must increase sanctions against Russia to stop other countries from using “brute force” to achieve their goals.

Zelenskiy spoke via video link to the World Economic Forum in Davos when the Ukrainian military claimed to have held off a Russian attack on Sievierodonetsk. This eastern city has become the main target of a Russian offensive after the surrender of the southern port city of Mariupol last week.

Ukraine urges more pressure on Russia

Zelenskiy also revealed Ukraine’s worst military losses from a single strike of the war on Monday, saying 87 people were killed last week when Russian troops attacked a barracks housing troops at a training base in the north.

Ukraine had previously said eight people were killed in the May 17 strike at the barracks in Desna.

In the first of what may be many war crimes trials arising out of the Russian invasion of February 24, a Kyiv court has sentenced a young Russian tank commander to life in prison for killing an unarmed civilian.

Ukraine’s Attorney General Iryna Venediktova said about 13,000 cases of alleged Russian war crimes are under investigation.

Russia has denied targeting civilians or being involved in war crimes while conducting a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

As the conflict enters its fourth month, Zelenskiy urged the countries to put more pressure on Russia, accusing them of not exhausting the sanctions.

“Sanctions must be maximum so that Russia – and any other potential aggressor who wants to wage a brutal war against its neighbor – clearly knows the immediate consequences of their actions,” he said at the meeting in Davos.

He demanded an oil embargo, blocking all Russian banks and ending all trade.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Monday that 20 countries have approved arms supplies to Ukraine.

Greece, Italy, and Poland had all agreed to send artillery systems, Austin said, while Denmark had been promised missiles and training assistance promised by several others.

Austin added that the group of countries that Ukraine supports with weapons has grown since the first meeting last month in Germany, which now includes Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, and Ireland, bringing the membership to 47.

Another meeting is scheduled for June 15 on the sidelines of a panel of NATO defense ministers.

Russia has been targeting the eastern Donbas region since its forces were driven from the area around the capital Kyiv and the north in late March.

After taking Mariupol last week after a three-month siege, Russian forces now control a largely uninterrupted portion of the east and south, freeing up more troops to join the main Donbas battle.

Russia is trying to encircle Ukrainian forces and completely take over the Luhansk and Donetsk provinces that are part of the Donbas and where it supports separatist forces.

Ukraine said Russian troops had tried to storm Sievierodonetsk but were unsuccessful and withdrew.

The city is located in the easternmost part of a Ukrainian-occupied area of ​​the Donbas and one of the last areas of Luhansk still outside the control of Russia.

Luhansk governor Serhiy Gaidai said Russia “wiped Sievierodonetsk off the face of the earth” and tried to advance from three directions: overrunning Sievierodonetsk, cutting off a highway south of it and crossing the further river west. to cross.

On Monday, the head of the Russian-backed separatists in Donetsk, Denis Pushpin, said that Ukrainian POWs captured at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol could also face courts.

“Now they are being held on the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic. It is planned that an international tribunal will be organized later.”

In other developments, a Russian diplomat from the country’s permanent mission to the United Nations in Geneva said he was leaving office over his disagreement with the invasion of Ukraine, a rare political dismissal due to the war.

Boris Bondarev, who identified himself on LinkedIn as a consultant working on gun control, told Reuters: “The magnitude of this disaster drove me to do it.”

“I can no longer share this bloody, senseless, and unnecessary shame.”

with reporting from DPA