Ukraine: Russian diplomats expelled en masse from Europe

Posted on April 5, 2022, 19:05Updated on April 5, 2022, 7:13 PM

Westerners amplify their response to war crimes attributed to the Russian army. While satellite images, in particular of Maxar published by the “New York Times”, Confirming the presence of many bodies of civilians killed on the streets of Boutcha, European countries have carried out a series of expulsions of Russian diplomats and are preparing new sanctions.

These “high resolution images […] confirm recent videos and photos on social media revealing the presence of bodies lying on the street and abandoned for several weeks,” said Maxar Technologies. What are Moscow’s theories about a staging by Ukrainian or British secret services after the departure of the Russian army from this suburb of Kiev, on 1er April afternoon.

Zélensky calls on the UN to act quickly

The discovery of this massacre of 420 men, women and children, sometimes tortured, sent shockwaves last weekend, prompting Western countries almost exclusively to express their outrage. The discovery of other mass graves is to be expected, several officials warned, in several cities, including Borodyanka or the outskirts of Mariupol, where 100 civilians were executed on Monday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on the UN to “intervene immediately” by holding the Russian state responsible for the “worst war crimes” committed in Europe since World War II. He also called for his expulsion from the UN Security Council.

The Union’s response

The ambassadors of the 27 member states of the European Union will draw up a list of new economic sanctions on Wednesday, including an embargo on Russian ships and coal.

European countries have also sparked an unprecedented wave of expulsions of Russian diplomats. After Germany, which expelled 40 of them for “attacks on national security”, France has decided to expel the country 35, Spain 35, Italy 30, Denmark 15, Slovenia 33 and the European Union 19. By the end of March, Belgium, the Netherlands and Poland had already expelled several dozen. Russia has said it will retaliate, including the dismissal of 35 French diplomats.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell will visit Kiev this week. The Twenty-seven also want to join forces with the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has been investigating since March 3 war crimes allegations by both sides in Ukraine. And France’s National Counter-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office (Pnat) announced on Tuesday that it had opened three new investigations for “war crimes” against French nationals, in Mariupol, Gostomel and Cherniguiv.

Upcoming battles

The United States for their part blocked the possibility for the Russian state to repay the maturities of its debt through its accounts with US banks, which would force Moscow to use its foreign exchange reserves directly and significantly increase the risk of default for the first time since 1917. They also hope this week the suspension of Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.

In the theater of military operations, the various fronts in the south and east did not move on Tuesday, but bombings hit Kramatorsk, a major city controlled by Kiev in eastern Ukraine. Russian troops withdrawn from the Kiev area are being reconstructed in Belarus before being transferred to eastern Ukraine in two weeks for a likely large-scale offensive, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. †

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