BRUSSELS – The European Union on Friday officially approved an embargo on Russian oil and other sanctions on major banks and broadcasters over Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
According to EU headquarters, Russian crude will be phased out over six months and other refined petroleum products over eight months.
It said that “a temporary exemption is foreseen” for landlocked countries – such as Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia – which “suffer from a particular dependency on Russian supplies and have no viable alternatives”.
Bulgaria and Croatia will also get “temporary derogations” for certain types of oil. EU leaders say the move means around 90% of Russian oil exports to Europe will be blocked by the end of the year. The EU imports around 25% of its oil from Russia.
Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, as well as Credit Bank of Moscow, Russian Agriculture Bank and Belarusian Bank for Development and Reconstruction have also been blocked from using the SWIFT system for international bank transfers.
Broadcasters Rossiya RTR/RTR Planeta, Rossiya 24 / Russia 24 and TV Center International have been hit over allegations that they are being used by Moscow “to manipulate information and promote disinformation about the invasion of Ukraine”.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
— AP PHOTOS: Russian shopping malls half empty after western companies left
— Faces of Ukraine grinding campaign while waiting for weapons
— At 100 days, war between Russia and Ukraine by numbers
— USA and allies: Hold Russia accountable for crimes in Ukraine
— Russian Orthodox leader skips EU sanctions thanks to Hungary’s Orban
Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine
BERLIN, Germany – The speaker of the Ukrainian parliament has met German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and attended a session of the German parliament during a visit to Berlin.
Ruslan Stefanchuk, the speaker of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, received a standing ovation when he was greeted by his German counterpart Bärbel Bas on Friday.
Stefanchuk told Germany’s Funke newspaper group ahead of his meeting with the chancellor that he wanted to invite Scholz to Kyiv to give a speech to Ukrainian lawmakers.
Scholz has not visited Ukraine since the beginning of the war, but the German foreign and development ministers have.
UNITED NATIONS – The United States and its allies have vowed to hold Russia accountable for crimes committed by its forces since they invaded Ukraine on February 24.
US Undersecretary of State Uzra Zeya, speaking at a UN Security Council meeting to strengthen accountability and justice for serious violations of international law, said Russian forces had bombed maternity hospitals, train stations, apartment buildings and houses, killing civilians bicycling down the street.
Zeya said Thursday the United States is working with its allies to support a wide range of international investigations into alleged war crimes in Ukraine.
Ireland’s Attorney General Paul Gallagher said Ireland was one of 41 countries that had swiftly referred the situation in the country to the International Criminal Court.
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia accused Western nations of “hypocrisy” in suddenly seeking international criminal justice over what Moscow has dubbed a “special military operation” in Ukraine.
KIEV, Ukraine – Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said fighting had been brutal in the country’s eastern Donbass region but “some progress” had been made in the city of Sievierodonetsk, which Russian forces were attempting to capture.
“It’s the toughest at the moment. As in the cities and towns nearby — Lysychansk, Bakhmut and others,” Zekenskyy said in his late-night video address to the nation late Thursday. “There are many cities where the Russian attack is powerful.”
Zelenskyi said Russian forces were mobilizing people from areas of Donbas already under the control of Moscow-backed separatists and sending them into battle in the first line of attack, followed by Russian troops.
“The longer the war goes on, the more despicable, shameful and cynical things Russia will write in its history forever,” he said.
Zelenskyy said he was grateful to the United States for agreeing to send advanced missile systems.
KIEV, Ukraine — Around 60 percent of infrastructure and residential buildings in Lysychansk, one of only two eastern cities still under at least partial Ukrainian control, have been destroyed by attacks, a local official said Thursday.
Oleksandr Zaika, head of the Lysychansk city’s military and civil administration, said in an “information telemarathon” quoted by the Unian news agency that the non-stop shelling paralyzed electricity, natural gas, telephone and internet services.
One of the most critical routes for supplies and evacuation, the Bakhmut-Lysychansk highway, is still open but is constantly being bombed.
Humanitarian supplies are still reaching the city, where shrapnel and mines dot the landscape, he said.
Zaika said 20,000 people remained in the city, up from a pre-war population of 97,000.
Lysychansk is separated by a river from the other city in the region that is still at least partially under Ukrainian control, Sievierodonetsk. It too is under Russian siege.
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