- The European Union is facing criticism for being too slow in dealing with Russian energy
- Russia sees economic relations with China growing
- East Donbass remains the focus of action on the battlefield
Lviv, Ukraine/Berlin (Reuters) – The European Union is likely to agree to a ban on Russian oil imports “within days,” according to its largest member Germany, where Moscow has said it sees its economic ties growing with post-isolation China. by the West because of its invasion of Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told global business leaders in Davos on Monday that the world should increase sanctions against Russia to deter other countries from using “brute force” to achieve their goals.
Many of the European Union’s 27 member states rely heavily on Russian energy, prompting criticism from Kyiv that the bloc has not moved fast enough to halt supplies.
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Hungary stuck to its demands for energy investment before agreeing to such a ban, and it clashed with EU countries that lobbied for quick approval. The European Union has offered up to 2 billion euros ($2.14 billion) to central and eastern countries lacking non-Russian supplies.
“We will reach a breakthrough within days,” German Economy Minister Robert Habeck told ZDF television.
He said that the European Commission and the United States are working in parallel on a proposal to reduce global oil prices.
“It’s clearly an extraordinary measure, but these are extraordinary times,” he said.
Russia’s three-month-old invasion, the largest attack on a European country since 1945, has sent more than 6.5 million people fleeing abroad, reduced entire cities to rubble, and prompted unprecedented Western sanctions against Russia.
In another symbolic indication of Russia’s isolation, American coffee chain Starbucks (SBUX.O) It became the latest Western brand to say it was pulling out of the country on Monday. Read more
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Kremlin would focus on developing ties with China while cutting economic ties with the United States and Europe.
“If they (the West) want to offer something in terms of the resumption of relations, we will seriously consider whether or not we will need it,” he said in a speech, according to a text on the State Department’s website.
“Now that the West has taken (the position of a dictator), our economic relations with China will grow even faster.”
The comments came as US President Joe Biden toured Asia, where he said he would be willing to use force to defend Taiwan against Chinese aggression – a comment that appeared to expand the boundaries of ambiguous US policy toward the self-governing island. Read more
Russia sent thousands of soldiers to Ukraine on February 24 in what it called a “special operation” to demilitarize its neighbor and root out dangerous nationalists – allegations that Kyiv and Western countries denied as false pretexts for a land grab.
Having captured the port city of Mariupol in southeastern Ukraine last week after months of siege, Russian forces now control a largely unbroken area to the east and south.
They are trying to encircle the Ukrainian forces and seize the Luhansk and Donetsk provinces that make up the eastern Donbass region, where Moscow supports the separatist forces.
A total of 12,500 Russians were trying to take Luhansk, Serhi Gaidai, the district’s governor, said in Telegram. Gaidai added that the town of Severodonetsk was being destroyed, but that Ukraine had forced Russian forces out of Toshkivka to the south.
Donetsk region governor Pavlo Kirilenko told local television that the bombing was taking place along the front line, with the town of Avdiivka being exposed to coal mining around the clock.
The military command of Ukraine’s Joint Task Force said in its nightly update that Russian forces fired into 38 districts of Donetsk and Luhansk on Monday, killing seven and wounding six.
Reuters could not immediately verify the information.
Zelensky revealed Ukraine’s worst military casualties in a single attack of the war on Monday, saying 87 people were killed last week when Russian forces bombed a barracks at a training base in the north.
“Every time we tell our partners that we need modern anti-ballistic missile weapons and modern military aircraft, we don’t just make empty requests,” he said late Monday.
“These requests are the lives of many people who would not have been killed if we had received all the weapons we asked for.”
Denmark’s pledge to send Harpoon anti-ship missiles and a launcher to Ukraine, which the US announced on Monday, is the first sign since the Russian invasion that Kyiv will receive US-made weapons that significantly expand its strike range. Read more
Fighters made by Boeing (ban)to push the Russian navy away from Ukraine’s ports on the Black Sea, allowing the resumption of exports of grain and other agricultural products.
In what could be the first of many war crimes trials stemming from the invasion, a Kyiv court has sentenced a young Russian tank commander to life imprisonment for the murder of an unarmed civilian. Read more
Ukraine is investigating more than 13,000 alleged Russian war crimes, according to the prosecutor’s website.
Russia has denied targeting civilians or being involved in war crimes.
Ukraine is trying to secure a prisoner exchange for fighters who surrendered in Mariupol. The Russian deputy foreign minister was quoted as saying that Moscow might discuss the exchange.
In a cemetery outside Mariupol, walking through long rows of new graves and makeshift wooden crosses, Natalia Voloshina, who lost her 28-year-old son fighting for the city, said that many of Mariupol’s dead have no one left to honor their memory.
“Who will bury them? Who will put a plaque?” She asked.
“They don’t have a family.”
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Reporting by Oleksandr Kozhukhar in Lviv, Pavel Polityuk and Natalia Zinets in Kyiv, and reporters from Reuters in Mariupol. Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Michael Perry
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