The United States and powerful allied governments impose new sanctions on Russia over signs of war crimes by Russian soldiers in Ukraine, adding to pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to reconsider his assault vicious against the country, White House officials said Wednesday.
The new measures freeze all US assets of Sberbank, Russia’s largest financial institution, and Alfa Bank, Russia’s largest private bank, barring them from contact with the sprawling US financial system or US individuals. They also target Russian individuals, including Putin’s family and some of his top advisers. And President Joe Biden is banning any new US investment in Russia.
After the withdrawal of Russian troops from Bucha, a small town north of kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, Ukrainian forces and journalists discovered in recent days civilians killed – some of them with their hands tied behind their backs – in the streets and mass graves filled with more than 250 people. Russian troops also killed dozens of civilians in two other towns near kyiv, Irpin and Hostomel, as they controlled those areas, according to Ukrainian officials.
“Mothers of Russian soldiers should see this. See what bastards you have raised,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said of growing evidence of atrocities on Telegram on Sunday. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg accused Moscow of “brutalities against civilians that we have not seen in Europe for decades”.
Russia complaints the apparent excesses were staged by Ukraine and its international friends. But footage from Bucha shows corpses of civilians lying on the streets weeks before the Russians left the city, according to a New York Times analysis of videos of residents and satellite imagery from intelligence firm Maxar Technologies.
The United States is now to attempt to expel Russia from the UN Human Rights Council. The Biden administration has said it is gathering evidence of rights violations by the Russians and France, Britain and Germany also believe that Putin’s forces committed abuses.
Washington and its partners have already imposed significant pressure on Russia over Ukraine, targeting its financial system, some of its most powerful people and its global influence in an attempt to pressure Putin into giving in and making a deal with Zelenskyy. .