- EU, several European countries expel Russian diplomats.
- The Red Cross temporarily suspends plans to enter besieged Mariupol.
- The UN warns of a food, energy and financial “crisis” due to the war.
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Ukraine’s president told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that the Russian military must be brought to justice immediately for war crimes, blaming the invading troops for the worst atrocities since World War II.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, making his plea via video, cited reported atrocities against civilians committed by Russian forces in the town of Bucha, on the outskirts of the capital of Kyiv, saying they are no different from others terrorists, such as the extremist group Islamic State.
Images of bodies killed on the ground, particularly of Bucha, sparked global revulsion and led to calls for tougher sanctions and war crimes prosecutions against Russia.
Zelensky, making his first appearance before the UN’s highest body, pointed out that there are more places in Ukraine that have suffered similar horrors. He called for the creation of a tribunal similar to the Nuremberg Tribunal set up to try war criminals after World War II.
Ukrainian officials said the bodies of at least 410 civilians had been found in towns around kyiv that had been retaken from Russian forces and that a “torture chamber” had been discovered in Bucha.
NATO chief warned Russia was pooling forces to deploy to eastern and southern Ukraine for a ‘crucial phase of the war’, said further ‘atrocities’ could occur be revealed as Russian troops continue to withdraw. the North.
Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly has promised that “these acts of terror will not go unpunished”, and US President Joe Biden has said Russian President Vladimir Putin should be tried for war crimes.
The Kremlin denounced the footage as fake and suggested the scenes were staged by the Ukrainians. But high-resolution satellite images from Maxar Technologies showed many of the bodies lay in the open for weeks while Russian forces were in the city.
Russian diplomats expelled
Meanwhile, the European Union says 19 Russian diplomats are expelled from Belgium. The deportations follow other similar moves by countries including Germany, France and Spain amid harsh criticism of Russia’s war in Ukraine and talk of a new set of sanctions.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the expulsions of his diplomats would provoke a response from Moscow and complicate international relations.
Meanwhile, the executive branch of the EU has proposed a ban on coal imports from Russia in what would be the first sanctions aimed at the country’s lucrative energy industry over its war in Ukraine.
Mariupol inaccessible by the Red Cross
An international Red Cross team suspended hopes of entering the beleaguered Ukrainian city of Mariupol for Tuesday after being detained overnight by police in a town some 20 kilometers to the west.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which has been trying to send a small team to Mariupol since Friday as part of efforts to escort besieged civilians and assist them, said the team detained by police in Manhush had been released overnight. He did not identify the nationality of the officers involved, but Manhush is under Russian control.
The ICRC said in a statement that the team is now focusing on the evacuation operation, and “yesterday’s incident shows how critical the operation to facilitate safe passage around Mariupol has been for our team”.
The besieged southern Sea of Azov port city is Russia’s main target in Donbass – an eastern region of Ukraine partly controlled by Moscow-backed separatists – and has seen some of the most intense shelling in the war. Thousands of civilians have been trapped in the city for weeks with limited access to food and water.
Falling the city would help Russia establish a land bridge between Donbass and Crimea, a southern region annexed by Russia in 2014.
Russia has said it is pulling out of kyiv and other parts of Ukraine, and instead focusing on “liberating” Donbass.
millions of refugees
The UN migration agency now estimates that more than 11 million people have fled their homes in Ukraine since the Russian invasion.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in its first such comprehensive assessment in three weeks, reported on Tuesday that more than 7.1 million people had been displaced in Ukraine as of April 1.
This comes on top of the figure of more than four million people who have fled abroad, reported by the UN refugee agency.
The IOM said more than 2.9 million others were actively considering “leaving their usual places of residence due to war”.
Ukraine had a pre-war population of 44 million.
The tally marked an increase from the IOM tally in mid-March of more than 9.7 million people displaced within Ukraine or driven abroad.
UN warns of global ‘crisis’
The UN chief says there is growing urgency to silence the guns in Ukraine, citing rising death tolls and a new UN analysis indicating that 74 developing countries, with a population population of 1.2 billion, are particularly vulnerable to food, energy and fertilizer price spikes.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the UN Security Council on Tuesday that due to the global impact of Russia’s “full-fledged invasion of Ukraine on multiple fronts” he said that ” we are already seeing some countries move from vulnerability to crisis and signs of serious social unrest.”
“The flames of conflict are fueled by inequality, deprivation and underfunding,” he said. “With all the red flags flashing red, we have a duty to act.”
“We need serious negotiations for peace, based on the principles of the United Nations Charter.”@antonioguterres urges the Security Council to do everything in its power to end the war & mitigate its impact. https://t.co/i6jINU34Mx pic.twitter.com/2VMkWxj0CE
On food, António Guterres urged all countries to keep markets open, resist unjustified export restrictions, make reserves available to countries threatened by hunger and famine, and fund humanitarian appeals .
On energy, he said the use of stocks and strategic reserves could help alleviate the energy crisis in the short term, “but the only solution in the medium and long term is to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy”.
On finance, he said, “international financial institutions need to go into emergency mode.” He urged the world’s 20 major economies, the G20 and international financial institutions “to increase liquidity and fiscal space so that governments can provide safety nets for the poorest and most vulnerable”.