Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that new Western sanctions are “not enough” to deter Russian aggression as Kiev asked NATO for more weapons to defend its territory.
In a late night speech, the Ukrainian leader reiterated his calls and encouraged the international community to provide further support to his country to respond to the Russian invasion.
While US President Joe Biden vowed to “bring up the pain” to those close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, his Ukrainian counterpart said the west’s new sanctions against the Kremlin look “spectacular” but are inadequate.
Washington is issuing “full blocking sanctions” against Russia’s largest private bank, Sberbank, and has also targeted Mr Putin’s children, as the EU plans to ban Russian coal purchases.
Mr Zelensky described the economic measures as incompatible with the “evil” inflicted by Russian soldiers on Ukrainian civilians, and called for a complete embargo on Russian oil and gas.
“Some politicians still can’t decide how to limit the flow of petrodollars and oil euros to Russia so as not to endanger their own economy,” he said.
“The only question is how many more Ukrainian men, how many Ukrainian women, the Russian army will have time to kill so that you, certain politicians – and we know who you are – can find some determination.”
Mr Zelensky added that the existing sanctions, which he considers insufficient, will be seen as a green light by the Kremlin. They are giving the Russian order “permission to attack,” he argued.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk echoed this sentiment, saying Western sanctions were “too little too late”. They would not work against Mr Putin, whom he compared to Adolf Hitler.
“Western leaders are afraid. It’s a shame but the fact [is] it is too little, too late, because the purpose of the sanctions is to stop Putin. And these sanctions won’t stop [him],” he said.
As fears grew over a heightened Russian attack on the eastern Donbas region, NATO leaders met in Brussels on Thursday for a second day of talks over the war in Ukraine.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba joined them in Belgium and formulated clear demands from Kiev.
“I came here today to discuss the three most important things: weapons, weapons and weapons. Ukraine’s urgent needs, supply sustainability and long-term solutions that will help Ukraine prevail,” he said.
His demands come as more evidence has reportedly been found about alleged Russian war crimes in the town of Bucha, northwest of the capital.
the German newspaper of the mirror reported Thursday that Berlin intelligence had intercepted Russian military radio messages that appear to discuss the killing of civilians.
Ukraine has alleged that Russian forces killed more than 300 civilians – some of whom had their hands tied behind their backs – in Bucha, a suburb of Kiev occupied by Kremlin troops until last week.
The radio recordings reportedly match the known deaths in the city. In one interception, a Russian soldier described shooting a resident from his bicycle.
Earlier this week, Moscow called Western allegations of Russian war crimes in Bucha a “monstrous falsification”, saying corpses had been planted to discredit its military. Satellite images, however, seemed to confirm Ukraine’s claim, showing bodies lying in one of Bucha’s streets during the Russian occupation of the suburb.
The number of civilian casualties in the long-besieged city of Mariupol is said to be even higher, with the mayor saying 5,000 people have been killed so far, including 210 children. British defense officials said 160,000 residents are trapped there, desperate for food and water.
Moscow would regroup for a major near-offensive around Mariupol in eastern and southern Ukraine.
As a result, Ukrainian officials in areas likely to be hit by increased hostilities have urged residents to flee while they still can.
“Evacuate! The chances of saving yourself and your family from Russian death are shrinking every day,” said Serhiy Gaidai, the governor of the Luhansk region.