IRUSSIA has accused Ukraine of backtracking on some of the proposals it made during talks in late March in Istanbul, which Moscow said it welcomed. In the text of the proposals made in Turkey, the Ukrainian side would have excluded the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014, from the guarantees of security and territorial integrity that kyiv demands. However, in a new document presented on Wednesday, this part would have disappeared, according to the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In response, kyiv called on Moscow to “reduce its degree of hostility” in the negotiations and accused his Russian counterpart of being an “accomplice to the crimes” committed by the Russian army. The latter would have suffered “significant” military losses since the start of the invasion, according to the Kremlin. “The fact that it justifies the bombing of a hospital in Mariupol and the war crimes committed in other towns and villages in Ukraine makes it an accomplice in these crimes,” the Ukrainian Foreign Minister said during a press conference.
Revelations about Boutcha
The images of the massacres perpetrated in Boutcha or Irpin, near kyiv, have “eclipsed” the talks initiated between Russia and Ukraine, according to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu. Turkey has twice hosted direct negotiations between the two parties, the last of which on March 29 in Istanbul, but “the positive atmosphere that emanated from them was unfortunately overshadowed”. For the UN, investigating the Boutcha massacre will be “the next step”.
The German intelligence services (BND) have recorded radio communications from Russian soldiers in which they discuss the abuses committed in Boutcha. The content of certain exchanges corresponds to photos of corpses and confirms that Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group in Ukraine would have participated in these abuses. According to Der Spiegel, the soldiers spoke of the atrocities as of their daily life. In another radio message, a man says: “First we interrogate the soldiers, then we shoot them. »
The European Parliament calls for an embargo on Russian gas
Thursday, April 7, Ukraine accused Hungary of “helping Putin” in the war against Ukraine, the day after statements by Viktor Orban saying he was ready to buy Russian gas in rubles. A first plane carrying nuclear fuel from Russia has arrived in Hungary, this energy source being an exception to the sanctions regime. She is expected to continue to be exempted as the bloc discusses new measures following outrage over the discovery this weekend of bodies wearing civilian clothes in Boutcha after the Russians withdrew.
At the same time, the European Parliament called in a non-binding resolution for a “total and immediate” embargo on imports of Russian oil, nuclear fuel coal and gas. A possible embargo on Russian oil (25% of total European oil imports) and Russian gas (45% of the total) is the subject of bitter discussions between the Member States. With this resolution, MEPs also call for an increase in arms deliveries to Ukraine. So far, the 27 have agreed on an envelope of one billion euros to supply armaments to kyiv, which is demanding more weapons.
New sanctions against Russia
For their part, the G7 countries announced new economic sanctions against Russia, including a ban on all new investment in key sectors in reaction to “the continuing escalation of the war” in Ukraine. Additional sanctions have been decided against the Russian defense sector and against elites who support the war.
By a vote in Congress, the United States officially revoked the trade status of Russia and Belarus, paving the way for punitive tariffs against these two countries. This measure, decreed by President Biden in mid-March, enjoyed strong cross-partisan support in both the House and the Senate.
In coordination with his European allies, US President Joe Biden announced this measure last month in order to “further isolate Russia on the world stage”, but this new sanction had to be validated by the elected representatives of the House and the Senate. She enjoyed strong support from both parties in each of the chambers.
By depriving Russia of its “most favored nation clause”, a principle of basic reciprocity in free trade, the West would de facto cut it off from the global game of free trade, and would give themselves the right to tax heavily imports of Russian products. As far as the United States is concerned, only two other countries are currently excluded from this principle of reciprocity, which is the basis of most international trade relations: Cuba and North Korea.
Russian ambassador to France summoned
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian again summoned the Russian ambassador to Paris on Thursday, after a tweet deemed “indecent” by the embassy on the abuses committed in the Ukrainian town of Boutcha. “Faced with the indecency and the provocation of the communication of the Russian embassy in France on the abuses of Boutcha, I decided to summon the Russian ambassador to the Quai d’Orsay this morning”, tweeted the Minister. He was referring to a tweet titled “film set”, as Moscow denounces a “staging” of bodies found in the city.
For its part, the G7 calls for the suspension of Russia from the UN Human Rights Council. “We are convinced that the time has come to suspend Russia’s membership of the Human Rights Council”, a proposal which will be put to the vote on Thursday by the UN General Assembly, say the foreign ministers G7 member countries. They further promise that the perpetrators of the Boutcha massacre will be “accountable and will be prosecuted”.