West Has Taken Steps To Restrict Russia’s Coal And Trade

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  • “These next few days may be your last chance to leave!”
  • But there are some things which you simply can’t understand.
  • Blinken spoke with disgust about the atrocities attributed to Russian soldiers.

The European Union approved a ban on Russian coal, and the United States moved to deprive Russia of its trading rights. It also barred its energy sales in the US market on Thursday, as Western nations increased their pressure on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine as reported by San Diego Union-Tribune.

New punishments

The new punishments came as the United Nations General Assembly took a symbolically important vote to penalize Russia by suspending it from the Human Rights Council, the 47-member U.N. body that can investigate rights abuses.

Russia has denied any responsibility for atrocities.

Together, the steps announced Thursday represented a significant increase in efforts led by Western nations to isolate and inflict greater economic pain on Russia as its troops regroup for a wave of attacks in eastern Ukraine, prompting urgent calls by Ukrainian officials for civilians there to flee.

“These next few days may be your last chance to leave!”

the regional governor of Luhansk, Serhiy Haidai, declared in a video on Facebook. 

The enemy is trying to cut off all possible ways to leave.

Minimized economic plan

But the Western penalties were unlikely to persuade Russia to stop the war, and they revealed how the allies were trying to minimize their own economic pain and prevent themselves from becoming entangled in a direct armed conflict with Moscow.

It took two days of protracted talks in Brussels for the European Union to approve the fifth round of sanctions against Russia that included its first ban on a Russian energy source, coal.

The ban would be phased in over four months, instead of three as originally proposed, according to EU diplomats.

Germany had been pushing for a longer transition period to wind down existing contracts, even though Russian coal is easier to replace with purchases from other suppliers, compared with oil and gas.

Ukrainian officials had urged Western nations to go further and completely cut off purchases of Russian oil and gas, contending that existing sanctions would not cripple Russia’s economy quickly or severely enough to affect President Vladimir Putin’s campaign to subjugate Ukraine by force.

Russian invasion

“As long as the West continues buying Russian gas and oil, it is supporting Ukraine with one hand while supporting the Russian war machine with the other hand,” Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said Thursday at NATO headquarters in Brussels, where he urged members of the alliance to accelerate promised help to Ukraine’s outgunned military.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance would “further strengthen and sustain our support to Ukraine so that Ukraine prevails in the face of Russia’s invasion.”

At the United Nations, the General Assembly’s resolution suspending Russia from the Human Rights Council, a step advocated by the United States and its allies, was the strongest measure the organization has taken to castigate the Kremlin.

China, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Syria and Vietnam were among the countries that joined Russia in opposing the measure, while India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico were among those that abstained.

The legislation would allow the United States to impose higher tariffs on Russian goods.

Russian energy, however, represents only a small fraction of U.S. imports, and Moscow is already having trouble exporting its oil.

Bill approval

The House approved the bills later Thursday, sending them to President Joe Biden, who was expected to sign them.

The video has been verified by The New York Times.

This is not an excuse for those who violate the rules of warfare on either side of the front line.

But there are some things which you simply can’t understand.

Blinken spoke with disgust about the atrocities attributed to Russian soldiers, saying “the sickening images and accounts coming out of Bucha and other parts of Ukraine have only strengthened our collective resolve.”

Negotiated settlement

“The discussion is not about the list of weapons,” Kuleba said. 

Blinken did not offer any new details on military assistance.

He noted that the United States had supplied Ukraine with arms for months, totalling more than $1.7 billion since Russia’s invasion began.

That aid includes an additional $100 million worth of Javelin anti-tank missiles that the Biden administration approved for shipment this week.

Blinken expressed scepticism about the peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, saying he had “heard nothing from the Russians suggesting that they’re serious” about a negotiated settlement.

“We have been watching closely how the Russians have encircled and seized nearby cities like Mariupol and Izium,” he said referring to two Ukrainian cities devastated by Russian attacks. 

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Source: San Diego Union-Tribune

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