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Ukraine asks for more weapons from NATO and demands a Russian energy embargo

US and UK announce new sanctions on Russia as Ukraine warns eastern residents to evacuate ahead of feared assault – part of wider Russian offensive in Ukraine looming continues to its 43rd day.

Ukraine is pushing the West to increase arms deliveries as Russia refocuses its offensive on the east of the country. (AP)

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Ukraine FM tells NATO allies to give kyiv all the weapons ‘it needs’

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on NATO members to provide Kyiv with all the weapons it needs. He also said his country was looking for “long-term solutions” that would help Ukraine win over Russia.

“My agenda is very simple. It has only three points. Its weapons, its weapons and its weapons,” Kuleba told reporters at NATO headquarters. “I call on all allies to put aside their hesitations, their reluctance, to provide Ukraine with everything it needs.”

Ukraine is pushing the West to increase its weapon supplies with heavier weaponry, including air defense systems, artillery, tanks and jets, as Moscow refocuses its offensive on eastern country.

Ukraine will pressure the West for a full energy embargo on Russia

Ukraine will continue to demand an oil and gas embargo against Russia, Ukraine’s foreign minister said, as the EU promised a fifth round of sanctions by Friday.

Dmytro Kuleba will address the 30 NATO allies, as well as the European Union, Finland, Sweden, Japan, New Zealand and Australia, in a special session foreign ministers to maintain international support for sanctions and arms supply.

“We will continue to insist on a full oil and gas embargo,” he told reporters. “I think Ukraine’s proposed deal is right. You give us weapons, we sacrifice our lives, and the war is contained in Ukraine,” he said.

Borrell: New EU sanctions could be agreed on Thursday or Friday

A fifth round of European Union sanctions against Russia, including a ban on coal imports, could be agreed by the bloc on Thursday or Friday, the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said.

“Maybe this afternoon, or tomorrow at the latest,” he told reporters as he arrived for a NATO meeting.

Civilians try to flee eastern Ukraine as Russia plots attack

Desperate evacuation attempts from eastern Ukraine are underway. Pleading with civilians to leave the area “while this is still possible”, local officials in Luhansk and Donetsk in the Donbass said the area was already facing constant indiscriminate shelling.

Local Governor Sergey Gaiday in Luhansk said on Facebook that more than 1,200 people were evacuated from Luhansk on Wednesday, but efforts were hampered by artillery fire.

For those who couldn’t leave, he said, tons of food, medicine and hygiene items were being delivered as part of a massive humanitarian effort.

Austria to expel four Russian diplomats

Austria will expel four Russian diplomats for acting inconsistently with their diplomatic status, a spokesman for its foreign minister has said, joining a group of European Union countries that have taken similar action this week.

Unlike those other EU countries, including France, Italy and Germany, Alexander Schallenberg’s spokesman did not say the decision was due to the actions of Russian forces in Ukraine.

The three diplomats working at the Russian embassy and the one based in Salzburg must leave the country by April 12, she said.

Australia to impose sanctions on 67 Russians over Ukraine

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Australia would impose sanctions on 67 Russians over Moscow’s attack on Ukraine.

“Today I am announcing 67 new sanctions against Russian elites and oligarchs, those close to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin who facilitate and support his outrageous actions,” she told reporters upon arriving at the ‘NATO.

UNGA to vote on Russia’s suspension from Human Rights Council

The UN General Assembly will vote on a US-initiated resolution to suspend Russia from the world body’s top human rights body over allegations that Russian soldiers killed civilians as they retreated from the area around the Ukrainian capital.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield has called for Russia to be stripped of its seat on the 47-member Human Rights Council following videos and photos of streets in the town of Bucha littered with corpses of what appeared to be civilians. Russia vehemently denied that its troops were responsible.

“We believe that members of the Russian forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine, and we believe that Russia must be held accountable,” Thomas-Greenfield said Monday. “Russia’s participation in the Human Rights Council is a farce.”

We cannot let a member state that overthrows all the principles we hold dear continue to sit on the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, United States Ambassador to the UN

US Senate to vote on trade with Russia

The US Senate will pass legislation to end normal trade relations with Russia and ban the import of its oil.

Both bills have been bogged down in the Senate, frustrating lawmakers who want to bolster the US response to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Russian President Vladimir Putin must be held accountable for what Schumer called war crimes against Ukraine.

Ukrainian Zelenskyy: delay in oil embargo decision costs lives

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged the democratic world to reject Russian oil and said failure to quickly agree to an embargo is costing Ukrainians their lives.

“The embargo on the supply of Russian oil will always be applied. The format will be found. The only question is how many Ukrainian men, how many Ukrainian women, the Russian army will have time to kill, so that you, some politicians – – and we know who you are – – will borrow some determination from somewhere,” Zelenskyy said.

It comes as Ukrainian authorities say nearly 5,000 people have been evacuated from combat zones ahead of a feared Russian attack in eastern regions.

Russia accuses Ukraine of disrupting prisoner swap

Russia said Ukraine had refused at the last minute to carry out a previously agreed “prisoner of war” exchange.

“The list of 251 servicemen declared for the exchange has been shortened several times. The number of prisoners of war for the exchange has been reduced several times. The list agreed at the last stage in the amount of only 38 servicemen was also suddenly revoked this morning by the Ukrainian side without explanation,” said Mikhail Mizintsev, the head of the Russian National Defense Management Center.

For live updates from Wednesday, April 6, click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies