Ukraine: giving in on sanctions would be falling into Putin’s “trap”, warns kyiv

Ukraine: giving in on sanctions would be falling into Putin’s “trap”, warns kyiv

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Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kouleba on Monday called on his EU counterparts not to give in to Vladimir Putin on sanctions against Russia, because “backing down and complying with his demands will not work, it’s a trap” .

“Putin’s real objective is the impoverishment of Europe. He wants to turn public opinion against the governments in place, in the hope of replacing them with radical forces that would be more favorable to Russia,” he said. – he warned in an address to his counterparts gathered in Brussels.

The main information:

  • Giving in on sanctions would be falling into Putin’s ‘trap’, kyiv warns
  • Six dead in a Russian bombardment in Toretsk (east), according to the Ukrainian authorities
  • EU wants tougher sanctions on Russia
  • Resumption of grain exports from Ukraine is “a matter of life and death”, says Josep Borrell
  • Volodymyr Zelensky sacked the country’s chief prosecutor and security service chief
  • H&M to pull out of Russia

Six dead in a Russian bombardment in Toretsk (east), according to the Ukrainian authorities

Six people were killed in a Russian bombardment in Toretsk, a city in Donbass, eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian State Service for Emergency Situations announced on Monday. “A building was destroyed by a shell in Toretsk shelled in the morning. Rescuers recovered five bodies.

Three people were extricated from the rubble, one of whom died in hospital,” according to a statement posted on the Facebook page accompanied by photos of the rubble. The rescue operation ended Monday morning, according to the same source.

In addition to Donbass, the epicenter of the Russian offensive, bombardments were also reported Monday morning in Mikolaiv (south) as well as in the regions of Kharkiv (northeast) and Dnipropetrovsk (center-east).

“Massive bombings”

Donetsk, one of the two Donbass provinces, has been targeted by “the Russians (who) continue to bomb civilian infrastructure, especially educational institutions,” said regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko. Pro-Russian separatists who have held part of the same region since 2014 have accused Ukrainian forces of firing 60 rockets from Grad multiple rocket launchers at a district of the city of Donetsk.

“Residential buildings were hit,” they said, posting images of buildings reduced to ruins, without reporting casualties. In the northeast, missiles struck overnight from Saturday to Sunday Kharkiv, the country’s second city, near the Russian border. Other strikes targeted Mykolaiv, a southern city near the Black Sea, and villages in the region, according to Vitaliy Kim, the local governor.

On the night of Sunday to Monday, the mayor of this city, Oleksandr Senkevych, wrote on Telegram: “Another massive bombardment of Mykolaiv. Powerful explosions are heard. About ten have been heard so far.”

New European sanctions?

On Monday, European Union foreign ministers will discuss in Brussels a toughening of sanctions against Moscow, the successive salvos adopted so far having isolated and hit Russia hard economically, without causing it to back down or give up its invasion launched on 24 February. They must consider two European Commission proposals to ban gold purchases from Russia to bring EU sanctions in line with those of its G7 partners, and to blacklist new Russian figures of the EU.

“Moscow must continue to pay a high price for its aggression,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Friday after transmitting the new measures to the Twenty-Seven. The Russian army has already lost 50,000 men, dead or wounded, and thousands of armored vehicles, according to the Chief of the British Armed Forces, Admiral Tony Radakin, i.e. “more than 30% of its land combat effectiveness”.

However, “the challenge posed by Russia will last”, he warned, stressing that betting on a health problem for Vladimir Putin or “that he ends up being assassinated” was a matter of “pious wish”. The Kremlin ruler said earlier this month that the Russian military had “not yet started serious things”, and his Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered last week to “further increase” military pressure.

Barely three days after cruise missile strikes which devastated the center of Vinnytsia, hundreds of kilometers from the front, killing at least 24 people, including children, and prompting the European Union to denounce a “barbaric behavior”, the bombardments continue. Russia announced on Saturday that it had officially ended the “operational pause” of its army decreed eight days ago, and the bombardments resumed with more intensity in the Donbass (east), whose total control is the main objective. in the short term from Moscow.

Resumption of grain exports from Ukraine is ‘a matter of life and death’, says Borrell

The resumption of grain exports from Ukraine is a “matter of life or death” and we “hope” that an agreement will be reached this week to unblock the port of Odessa, the head of diplomacy said on Monday European, Josep Borrell. “The lives of (…) tens of thousands of people depend on this agreement” being negotiated between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations, he explained on his arrival at Brussels for a meeting of EU foreign ministers on the war in Ukraine.

The draft agreement aims to bring out through the Black Sea some 20 million tonnes of grain blocked in Ukrainian silos because of the offensive led by Moscow. It must also facilitate Russian exports of cereals and fertilizers, affected by Western sanctions affecting Russian logistics and financial chains. Russia has announced an “outcome document” for a meeting hosted by Turkey this week.

Zelensky sacked the country’s chief prosecutor and security service chief

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has sacked the country’s chief prosecutor and security service chief on suspicion of treason by some of their subordinates to benefit the Russians, as an EU meeting opens on Monday aimed at strengthening sanctions against Moscow. “I have made the decision to relieve Prosecutor General ‘Iryna Venediktova’ and the head of the security services” (SBU) Ivan Bakanov from their duties, Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday evening, as Russia continues its bombardment of several Ukrainian cities.

Ukrainian authorities are investigating more than 650 cases of suspected treason by local officials, including 60 in areas occupied by Russian and pro-Russian forces, he added in his evening address. “Such a large number of crimes against the foundations of national security and the established links between Ukrainian law enforcement officials and Russian special services raise very serious questions for the leaders concerned. Each of these questions will receive a response,” he continued.

Iryna Venediktova notably led the investigation into the alleged atrocities committed at the start of the invasion by Russian forces in the town of Boutcha, a suburb north-west of kyiv, which in the eyes of the West has become a symbol of the “crimes of Russian war in Ukraine.

H&M to pull out of Russia

The Swedish clothing giant Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), which had already suspended sales in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, announced on Monday that it would gradually withdraw from this country, where it employs 6,000 people. . “After careful consideration, we see that it is impossible to continue our business in Russia given the situation,” Group Chief Executive Helena Helmersson said in a statement.

As part of its withdrawal from the Russian market, H&M plans to temporarily reopen its stores, which closed in early March a few days after the start of the invasion of Ukraine, in order to sell its remaining inventory. Established in Russia since 2009, H&M has approximately 6,000 employees there. “We are deeply saddened by the impact this will have on our colleagues and we are very grateful to them for all their hard work and dedication,” added Helena Helmersson.

According to the group, this withdrawal should cost it a total of two billion Swedish crowns (about 189 million euros), including a reduction in its liquidity of about one billion crowns. The losses will be charged to the third quarter accounts, he said.

After the invasion of Ukraine, several large Swedish companies had temporarily ceased their activities in Russia. The manufacturer Volvo had thus stopped sales and production at its plant in Kaluga, in central Russia, while the communications giant Ericsson had announced that it would cease deliveries to Russian customers. The furniture giant Ikea has also decided to “reduce its activities in Russia and Belarus”, already suspended after the start of the offensive.

Arrest of a Russian journalist

President Zelensky also again criticized on Sunday the Canadian decision, taken last week, to allow the return to Europe of turbines repaired in Canada and intended for the Russian gas pipeline Nord Stream. He said he told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whom he spoke to on the phone during the day, that the Ukrainians would never accept this decision, which he said violates the sanctions regime against Russia.

“It’s a matter of compliance with sanctions. If there is a violation now, it won’t be long before there are others,” the president added, accusing Russia of gas blackmail and pointing out that there were other ways to get Russian gas to Europe. In Russia, Russian journalist Marina Ovsiannikova, who became famous after appearing live on television with a sign criticizing Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine, was arrested on Sunday, her entourage and her lawyer said.

No official statement has been made on the reasons for her arrest, but it comes a few days after Marina Ovsiannikova demonstrated alone near the Kremlin, brandishing a sign criticizing the military intervention in Ukraine and President Putin. The war in Ukraine will enter its sixth month on July 24 and there is no overall civilian death toll from the conflict so far.

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