War in Ukraine: new sanctions, Azovstal resists, call between Putin and Macron, news from Tuesday 3 May

The European Union’s top diplomat said, on Tuesday, that the European Union will impose new sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, targeting its oil industry, more banks and disinformation officials.

“We are working on the sixth sanctions package, which aims to exclude more banks from the SWIFT system, include disinformers and counter oil imports,” Josep Borrell, head of European diplomacy, said on Twitter.

According to diplomats, the new sanctions will be of particular concern Sberbankthe main Russian bank, which will join the list of Russian banks already excluded from the SWIFT payment system.

oil embargo

Josep Borrell and other EU officials said the Commission’s proposed measures would be presented by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday. These sanctions, which will be subject to approval by the 27 EU member states, should include a ban on Russian oil imports by the end of the year.

An embargo on Russian oil would deprive Moscow of an important source of income, but this measure was not unanimously taken within the 27. Hungary, in particular, expressed its opposition to this.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West on Tuesday that he himself could halt Russian oil and natural gas exports in response to European Union and United States sanctions.

New Russian attack on Mariupol

Dozens arrived safely in the city of Zaporizhia, still under the control of Ukrainian authorities, on Tuesday after being evacuated from Mariupol where they had taken refuge for weeks at the Azovstal plant, which the Russian army launched an offensive.

Visibly exhausted, the evacuees from the port city, targeted by the Russian army since the beginning of the offensive that began on February 24, were dropped off by buses into the parking lot of a shopping center in Zaporizhia, a city also in southern Ukraine, not far from the front lines.

More than 200 civilians are still trapped in Azovstal’s steel plants, according to Mariupol’s mayor, Vadim Boychenko, while about 100,000 civilians remain in the city, which has been devastated by sieges and repeated bombing by Russian forces.

said Osnat Lubrani, Humanitarian Coordinator for the United Nations for Ukraine.

The United Nations and the Red Cross coordinated a five-day operation, which began on April 29, to evacuate women, children and the elderly from the factory.

Cité par la presse ukrainienne, un représentant de la police de Marioupol a déclaré que l’armée russe avait lancé mardi un nouvel assaut contre l’usine Azovstal, après que l’aviation russe a bombardé le site pendant la nuitez, en violation -fire.

Azovstal is the last bastion of resistance

The Russian Defense Ministry said that Ukrainian forces took advantage of the ceasefire to set up new firing positions, positions which pro-Russian forces had begun to destroy.

The Azovstal plant is the last stronghold of the Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol.

Mariupol resident Tatiana Bochlanova said she was now so used to Russian bombing that she no longer reacted when the shells exploded.

“She wakes up in the morning and cries. She cries at night. I have no idea where to go,” she said, wiping away her tears as she sat near a blackened building.

Exchanges between Putin and Macron

Russian state media quoted the Kremlin as saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin told his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, on Tuesday, that Western countries may pressure the Ukrainian authorities to stop “atrocities” against civilians.

For his part, Emmanuel Macron, during a telephone interview that lasted more than two hours, called on Vladimir Putin to allow the continuation of the evacuations of Ukrainian civilians who have sought refuge in the Azovstal plant in Mariupol.

The French president also said that he is ready “to work with relevant international organizations to help lift the Russian blockade of Ukrainian food exports through the Black Sea,” the Elysee announced.

This is the first meeting between the two leaders since March 29.

During the phone interview with Emmanuel Macron, Vladimir Putin insisted on the role that the West can play in order to put an end to “war crimes (and) the massive bombing of Donbass cities”, in eastern Ukraine, which is controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

“The West should help put an end to these atrocities by using its influence over the authorities in Kyiv and stopping arms deliveries to Ukraine,” the RIA news agency wrote, citing the Kremlin.

Russia’s Interfax news agency reported that Vladimir Putin told Emmanuel Macron that he was still open to dialogue with the Ukrainian government.

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