Daily Column – 4th April 2022

After heartbreaking photographs of dead civilians circulated on the internet this weekend, Western leaders promised to increase economic pressure on Russia.

Ukrainian troops and Western media poured into the city’s suburbs this weekend as Russian forces retreated from the region surrounding Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. They discovered a large number of persons dressed in civilian clothes who looked to have been shot at close range, some with their wrists tied behind their backs, in the town of Bucha. According to the mayor of Bucha, 270 people were discovered in mass graves.

“This is genocide,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated of Russia’s incursion on CBS’s Face the Nation Tuesday.

While not going quite that far, officials from throughout the West called the photographs as “unbearable” and described the atrocity as “brutality against people that Europe hasn’t seen in decades.”

More sanctions are “on the way,” according to European Council President Charles Michel, in reaction to the reported atrocities in Bucha. So far, Europe has barred several Russian banks from using the SWIFT messaging system, halted IT exports to Russia, and frozen oligarchs’ assets, among a slew of other measures.

The EU has refrained from imposing a ban on Russian oil and gas imports, citing concerns that doing so would result in an energy crisis in its member states. Some countries, however, are not waiting: Lithuania said on Saturday that it had ceased importing “toxic Russian gas,” making it the first EU country to do so.

According to State Department spokesperson Ned Price, the US, which has previously decided that Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine, would likely take additional measures “very shortly.”

The current situation of the conflict: Today marks the 40th day since Russia invaded Ukraine without provocation. Following their failure to take Kyiv, Russian forces appear to be shifting their focus away from the capital and toward the country’s southeastern areas, as indicated by yesterday’s missile attacks on the Black Sea port city of Odessa. The peace talks are progressing, but Russian President Vladimir Putin and Zelensky are still not ready to meet, according to Russia’s lead negotiator.

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