Western countries prepare to toughen sanctions on Russia, Ukraine calls for more help

The United States, United Kingdom and the European Union were set Wednesday to impose new punishing sanctions targeting Russia, including a ban on all new investment in the country and an EU embargo on coal, after evidence of torture and killings emerged in recent days from a town outside of Kyiv.

Videos and images of bodies in the streets of Bucha after it was recaptured by Russian forces have unleashed a wave of indignation among Western allies, who have drawn up new sanctions as a response.

The European Commission’s proposed ban on coal imports would be the first EU sanctions targeting Russia’s lucrative energy industry over its war in Ukraine.

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said energy was key to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war coffers.

“A billion euros is what we pay Putin every day for the energy he provides us since the beginning of the war. We have given him 35 billion euros. Compare that to the one billion that we have given to Ukraine in arms and weapons,” Borrell said.

After several European countries announced the expulsion of Russian diplomats, the European Commission proposed a fifth package of sanctions including a ban on coal imports that could be adopted as soon as Wednesday once unanimously approved by the 27-nation bloc’s ambassadors.

The United States and Western allies plan to impose a ban on all new investment in Russia. Among the other measures being taken against Russia are greater sanctions on its financial institutions and state-owned enterprises, and sanctions on government officials and their family members, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

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