Bucha massacre opens door to European veto on Russian oil and gas
The Bucha massacre has raised the level of outrage in the governments of countries around the world. According to the Financial Times, several governments are considering further sanctions against Russia that could include an embargo on Russian coal, oil and gas exports to Europe. French President Emmanuel Macron advanced that there will be a tough response to the massacre of civilians by Russian troops and has advocated targeting “coal and oil” rather than gas for the time being.
In this regard, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Monday sharply criticized France and Germany for not tightening sanctions against Moscow, “a totalitarian fascist state” that commits “genocides” in Ukraine. “Germany’s policy over the last dozen years has meant that Russia today has a strength that it has gained from the sale of raw materials,” Morawiecki said. The Polish leader also referred to French President Emmanuel Macron in his speech: “Mr. President Macron, how many times have you negotiated with (Vladimir) Putin? What have you achieved? Did you stop any of his actions? With criminals you do not negotiate, criminals must be fought.”
In Bucha alone 340 bodies have been found so far, but bodies from numerous makeshift graves throughout the city have yet to be exhumed. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claimed that videos and images of Bucha and its surroundings, taken by journalists from various international and local agencies, were staged by the Ukrainians as part of a US provocation aimed at disrupting negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. Moscow has denied that it has killed civilians in Ukraine, which has been proven false given the number of verified images and videos, as well as thousands of first-hand witnesses. The latest UN figure, released on Sunday, is 1,417 deaths, but officials themselves have acknowledged that the real figure must be much higher.
Ukrainian President Volodimyr Zelenski has said that all crimes committed by Russian troops will be catalogued while blaming Russian troops and those giving orders for the killings. The Ukrainian leader says the West had a chance to avert disaster but refused to “take Ukraine out of the gray zone” exactly 14 years ago when NATO refused to allow Ukraine to join the military organization after the summit in Bucharest.
Meanwhile, at least seven people were killed and 34 injured after a park in Kharkiv was hit with a bomb on Sunday night. Ukraine’s second largest city has been under relentless artillery and missile attacks for weeks leaving at least 15% of buildings severely damaged. The city is blockaded while the heaviest fighting is taking place further south near Izium.
Meanwhile, reports are coming in of the liberation of Chernigiv as Russian troops gradually withdraw northward. Some residents of the city, where 70% of the buildings have been damaged by Russian artillery, have electricity and water for the first time in weeks. Local authorities in the Sumy region also confirm a gradual withdrawal of Russian troops while Ukrainian military and emergency services are working on demining the liberated areas.
Heavy fighting continues in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, where a large attack has been repulsed in Mariinka. Attempts to evacuate the population of Mariupol failed again on Sunday and will continue on Monday. Throughout the Lugansk region there has been incessant shelling by Russian forces.
In the south, numerous explosions were heard in the Kherson region, where several villages remain without electricity and there is no access to food and medicine. In addition, Mykolaiv and neighboring Ochakiv have again come under missile attack.
The major port city of Odessa came under missile attack once again for the second night in a row. Little is known about the extent of the damage, as local authorities ask everyone to provide as little detail as possible about the aftermath of the attacks. Previous analysis revealed that the Russian military is using open sources, such as videos and images from social media users, to choose its next targets. An oil base in the western city of Ternopil was also attacked overnight and no casualties have been reported.
The Ukrainian military claims that Russia has started a secret mobilization of its military reserves in several regions, with the aim of recruiting 60,000 soldiers with military experience. They will be provided with old military equipment, most of which has been in storage for more than 30 years.