The UK will soon hit Russia with more economic sanctions in light of recent war crimes committed by Vladimir Putin’s troops, with a ban on Russian gas and coal set to come.
Foreign secretary Liz Truss today said evidence of mass civilian graves in Ukraine was “truly horrifying” and that “Britain has helped lead the way with sanctions to cripple the Putin war machine … We will do more to ramp up the pressure on Russia and we will keep pushing others to do more”.
Truss said the UK would soon reveal a timeline for the ban of all Russian gas and coal imports, after last month announcing a ban on Russian oil from the end of this year.
“The reality is that money is still flowing from the West and into Putin’s war machine and that has to stop,” Truss said during a trip to Poland.
“We need to do more. We need to do more on oil and gas, which are key to funding Russia’s war machine.”
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky today visited Bucha, a city around 17 miles West of Kyiv, where 280 dead civilians were found in a mass grave on Saturday.
Ukraine’s defence ministry said there was evidence “civilians were being executed arbitrarily, some with hands tied behind their backs, their bodies scattered in the streets of the city”.
Zelensky told reporters that the mass killings were “war crimes and will be recognised by the world as genocide”.
He said: “You can see around what was done to this modern town. That’s a characteristic of Russian soldiers – treat people worse than animals. That is real genocide, what you have seen here today.”
G7 countries will now discuss slapping more coordinated sanctions on Russia, after already effectively shutting the country out of the global financial system and turning the country into an economic pariah.
Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said: “Half measures are not enough anymore. I demand from our partners, on behalf of the victims of Bucha and the people of Ukraine, to take the most severe sanctions against Russia this week. This is not the request of Ukraine’s foreign minster – it is the plea of the victims of rape, torture and killings.”
The UK has cut off all major Russian banks from operating in the UK and frozen their assets, while also targeting more than 1,000 individuals.
There are also sanctions in place stopping many British firms exporting to Russia and banning Russian firms from raising money in the City of London.
“Most of the areas that might be viable [for sanctions] have already been taken, but there’s always more that can be done to ratchet up particular areas,” a western official said.
US President Joe Biden today said he wanted to try Putin for war crimes at the International Criminal Court and that he is “seeking more sanctions” against his regime.
“This guy is brutal. What’s happening in Bucha is outrageous,” he said.
The President also said he did not consider what happened in Bucha as genocide.