Putin spokesman claims Bucha atrocities were staged
The European Union has passed new sanctions against Russia, including an embargo on coal imports.
It follows a US statement that there is evidence that Russian troops are involved in torture and killings in war zones outside the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv.
The ban on coal imports will be the first EU sanctions against Russia’s energy industry over its war in Ukraine, an official said on condition of anonymity, as the official announcement had not yet been made.
Meanwhile, in a wide-ranging interview with Sky News, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied that Russia was responsible for war crimes.
He rejected proposals to put Vladimir Putin before a war crimes court: “We don’t see any possibility of that, we don’t think it’s realistic.” However, he admitted that the “significant troop losses” were a “great tragedy for us”.
The EU hits Russia with new sanctions, including a coal import embargo
EU member countries have adopted new sanctions against Russia, including an unprecedented embargo on coal imports.
It comes after the US claimed there was evidence Russian forces were raping and torturing Ukrainian civilians.
The ban on coal imports will be the first EU sanctions against Moscow’s lucrative energy industry during the war, an AP official said Thursday ahead of the official announcement.
Full story here from Sam Hancock
Lamiat SabinApril 7, 2022 8:20 p.m
More than 100 people kidnapped from Melitopol “without reason”.
According to the mayor of the Ukrainian city Ivan Fedorov, Russian troops kidnapped more than 100 people from Melitopol.
He said in a video message shared on Facebook, “Today the total number of citizens kidnapped by collaborators and occupying soldiers is more than 100 people.”
Russian soldiers have started kidnapping teachers at the Melitopol Pedagogical University, he said.
According to a translation, Mr. Fedorov said: “The occupiers continue to kidnap residents of Melitopol for no reason.
“After unsuccessful attempts to resume classes in schools, the intruders moved to kindergartens. I am sure that employees of pre-school educational institutions will not cooperate with the occupiers.
“An attempt by collaborators to resume college education also failed. Only a few of the thousands of students attended. I thank the youth for their conscious attitude.”
Lamiat SabinApril 7, 2022 8:00 p.m
“One killed and 14 wounded by shelling from Kharkiv” – says an official
At least one person was killed and 14 wounded when Kharkiv was shelled, regional governor Oleh Synehubov said in a video address.
The Ukrainian military earlier said Russian troops would bombard the city with shells and rockets.
Russia denies attacks on civilians.
Lamiat SabinApril 7, 2022 7:40 p.m
Russian diplomats ‘ordered to leave Montenegro’
Four Russian diplomats were reportedly ordered to leave Montenegro for violating diplomatic norms.
According to the newspaper, the diplomats have a week to leave the former Yugoslav republic Pobjeda – citing sources from the Montenegrin Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Montenegro had already expelled a Russian diplomat in March, again for violating diplomatic norms.
North Macedonia and Slovenia, both former Yugoslav republics and NATO members, have also expelled a number of Russian diplomats.
Lamiat SabinApril 7, 2022 7:28 p.m
“Twenty-six bodies under two buildings in Kiev city of Borodianka”
Authorities in Ukraine have found 26 bodies under two destroyed buildings in the town of Borodianka, Kyiv region.
Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova did not say in a televised address whether the authorities had determined the cause of death.
She accused Russian troops of conducting air raids on the city before taking control of it.
“Borodianka is worst in terms of destruction and in terms of uncertainty about (the number of) casualties,” Ms Venediktova said.
Russian denies attacks on civilians.
Lamiat SabinApr 7, 2022 7:03 p.m
Russia says suspension from UN Human Rights Council is ‘illegal’
Russia has decided to give up its membership in the United Nations Human Rights Council following its suspension.
It said that a vote today by UN member states to remove him from the Council would be illegal and politically motivated.
This was reported by the RIA news agency, citing Russian Deputy Ambassador to the UN Gennady Kuzmin.
The UN General Assembly voted 93 to 24 to exclude Russia from the Council, with 58 countries abstaining.
Lamiat SabinApril 7, 2022 6:40 p.m
Ukraine “uses people as a shield” – Kremlin spokesman Peskov
Vladimir Putin’s spokesman claimed in an interview with Sky News that the Ukrainian army is using “people as a shield”.
Dmitri Peskov also described the devastation scenes from the city of Bucha in the province of Kyiv as “invented and faked”.
Interviewer Mark Austin asked him, “Do you realize how grotesque that sounds?”
The Sky News anchor also asked the Kremlin official about the number of victims in Ukraine: “How do you sleep at night?”.
Mr Peskov said: “Actually, it’s not about my sleep at night. This is about Ukrainian military and personnel trying to use civilians as a shield. They cover themselves with civilians and don’t let them flee the city.”
Mr. Peskov also claimed that Kremlin forces “never fired on civilian objects” during the invasion, adding: “They only aimed and used high-precision missiles to attack military infrastructure in Ukraine.”
Mr Peskov also claimed that the besieged Black Sea port of Mariupol was being “liberated by nationalist battalions”.
He added: “And we hope that sooner or later in the operation it will happen.”
Lamiat SabinApril 7, 2022 6:20 p.m
“More credible reports of rape and torture by Russian troops” – USA
There are more credible reports that Russian soldiers have tortured, raped and killed people in Ukraine – the US said.
This was said by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking to NATO reporters after a meeting with foreign ministers.
He said Washington will stop at nothing to send Ukraine the weapons it needs to fight Russia.
The US is “maintaining and building pressure on the Kremlin and its neighbors,” Mr Blinken also said.
Lamiat SabinApril 7, 2022 6:00 p.m
Australian officials, including prime ministers, have been banned from Russia because of sanctions
Hundreds of Australian government officials, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, are now banned from entering Russia.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it had imposed travel bans on 228 Australian government officials and lawmakers in response to sanctions imposed over Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Lamiat SabinApr 7, 2022 5:41 p.m
The UN votes to expel Russia from the Human Rights Council
The United Nations today voted to expel Russia from the Human Rights Council over its invasion of Ukraine.
A total of 93 votes were in favor and 24 votes against. There were also 58 abstentions among the 193 members of the UN General Assembly.
Introducing the US-initiated resolution, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United Nations Sergiy Kyslytsa said, “Russia’s actions go beyond borders.”
After the vote, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said: “War criminals have no place in UN bodies dealing with the protection of human rights. Grateful to all member states who have…chosen the right side of history”.
Read the full story from here Holly Bancroft
Lamiat SabinApril 7, 2022 5:40 p.m