Russian forces are trying to penetrate further into eastern Ukraine, but the Ukrainian army is holding them back, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an evening video address to the nation, quoted by the Associated Press.
Ukraine is aware that Russia is gathering reinforcements for a new offensive. Russian forces have superiority in numbers and equipment, the president added.
“We have no choice – the fate of our land and our people is being decided,” Zelenski stressed. “We know what we are fighting for. And we will do everything to win.”
He added that he had discussed new sanctions against Russia with Western leaders, BTA reported.
“After what the world saw in Bucha, sanctions against Russia must be commensurate with the gravity of the war crimes committed by the occupiers,” Zelensky stressed.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vereshchuk said earlier today that Russian troops had allowed 1,496 civilians to evacuate from the besieged city of Mariupol, but had prevented an escort of evacuation buses from entering the city.
Earlier, Zelensky called on the UN to act immediately against war crimes committed by Russia in his country. Otherwise, he said, the UN should simply shut down. He also called for Russia to be excluded from the UN Security Council, of which it is one of the five permanent members, and for the UN system to be reformed so that “the right of veto does not mean the right to kill.”, reported AFP.
“Now we need Security Council decisions for peace in Ukraine. If you don’t know how to make those decisions, you can do two things. Or exclude Russia from the Security Council as an aggressor because “It is at the heart of the war so that it does not block decisions about its aggression. And then do everything we can to bring peace,” Zelenski urged. “Or the other option is to show, please, that we can reform or change. If there is no alternative and option, the next option will be for you to relax all together,” Zelenski said.
In a video address to the UN Security Council, Zelensky said Russian forces had sent tens of thousands of Ukrainians to Russia since the start of the war.
AFP reports that Zelensky also distributed to the Security Council a video with many “raw” footage of people killed in Ukraine. “These are horrific images,” said the British Permanent Representative to the United Nations. She said she was shocked by them. The footage shows bodies or body parts. They were broadcast on a sound background to enhance the drama of the video.
Meanwhile, White House spokeswoman Jen Saki said the United States and its allies would impose new sanctions on Russian officials and financial institutions, Reuters reported.
“They will affect representatives of the Russian government, members of their families, Russian-owned financial institutions, and state-owned enterprises,” Saki told the media.
The goal is to put Russia in front of a choice and “drain Putin’s resources to wage war in Ukraine,” she said.
Earlier, Reuters reported, citing an unnamed source, that the sanctions would ban investment in Russia and aim at the country’s financial, economic, and technological isolation. They “will weaken key instruments of Russian state power, cause sharp and immediate economic damage to Russia, and hold accountable the Russian kleptocracy, which finances and supports the war of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin,” the source added.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Russia’s Sberbank may be among those affected.
According to a source quoted by AFP, the Russian economy is expected to shrink “by 15 percent or more” in 2022 as a result of the war in Ukraine, and Western sanctions. The unprecedented recession will remove the effect of “Russia’s economic progress over the past 15 years,” according to the source.
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