News from Ukraine: EU chief calls for Russian oil ban


What is happening in Ukraine today and how are the countries of the world reacting? Read live updates on Vladimir Putin and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


BRUSSELS — The European Union’s chief executive proposes that the bloc ban oil imports from Russia over its war on Ukraine and target the country’s biggest bank and major broadcasters in a new round of sanctions .


European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told European lawmakers on Wednesday that the sanctions should involve “a complete ban on imports of all Russian oil, transported by sea and by pipeline, crude and refined.”


She says the goal is to “ensure that we phase out Russian oil in an orderly fashion, in a way that allows us and our partners to secure alternative supply routes and minimize risk.” ‘impact on world markets’.


The sanctions proposals must be debated by the 27 member countries of the EU. Hungary and Slovakia have already announced that they will not participate. Both are landlocked and heavily dependent on Russia for their energy supply.


The banks are also in the crosshairs of the European executive, and in particular the giant Sberbank. Von der Leyen says the goal is to “de-SWIFT Sberbank”, along with two other banks. SWIFT is the world’s leading financial transfer system.


Von der Leyen said those suspected of spreading disinformation about the war in Ukraine should be targeted, including three major Russian public broadcasters. She did not identify any of the outlets.


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KYIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian authorities say dozens of civilians have been killed and injured in the latest attacks in the east of the country.


Donetsk Regional Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said 21 civilians were killed and 27 others injured in Russian attacks on Tuesday.


He said in a statement on a messaging app on Wednesday that it was the highest number of civilian casualties in the region since April 8, when a Russian missile attack on a railway station in the city of Kramatorsk killed at least 59 people.


In the nearby Luhansk region, Governor Serhiy Haidai said at least two civilians had been killed in Russian shelling in the past 24 hours and two others had been injured.


The Russian military has stepped up attacks in eastern Ukraine as part of its offensive in the region.


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LVIV, Ukraine – The British military believe Russia will make an effort to capture the towns of Kramatorsk and Severodonetsk in eastern Ukraine.


The British made the comment on Wednesday in a daily briefing they post on Twitter about the war.


The Defense Ministry said Russia has some 22 battalion battlegroups near Izium in its bid to advance in the area. Russia uses so-called battalion tactical groups – infantry units usually reinforced with tanks, air defenses and artillery – in its operations. Each group usually has about 800 soldiers.


The British said: “Despite its efforts to break through Ukrainian defenses and build momentum, Russia most likely intends to move beyond Izium to capture the towns of Kramatorsk and Severodonetsk.”


He added: “Capturing these locations would consolidate Russian military control over northeast Donbass and provide a starting point for their efforts to cut off Ukrainian forces in the region.


Analysts have been watching eastern Ukraine, now the site of the country’s heaviest fighting, expecting Russia to attempt to surround Ukrainian forces. However, progress has been slow as Ukrainian fighters dig in and use long-range weapons, such as howitzers, to target the Russians.


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MEXICO CITY – Hundreds of Ukrainian refugees are camping in Mexico City waiting for the US government to allow them to enter the country.


About 500 evacuees waited Tuesday in large tents under the scorching sun on a dusty field east of Mexico’s sprawling capital. The camp has only been open for a week and 50 to 100 people arrive every day.


Some refugees have already made it to the US border in Tijuana where they were told they would no longer be admitted. Others arrived at airports in Mexico City or Cancun.


The US government announced in late March that it would accept up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees. Hundreds of people entered Mexico daily as tourists in Mexico City or Cancun and flew to Tijuana to wait a few days before being admitted to the United States at a San Diego border crossing on humanitarian parole.


Giorgi Mikaberidze, 19, arrived in Tijuana on April 25 to find the US border closed. It went from a few meters in the United States to some 966 kilometers in the Mexico City area. He said he traveled alone to Mexico.


“It’s very difficult to wait. We don’t know how the program will work,” he said.


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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s national security adviser met with Swedish foreign affairs officials on Tuesday and pledged to continue “close coordination” on security issues, a National Security Council spokesperson said. the United States.


NSC spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Oscar Stenström, Swedish prime minister’s foreign secretary, discussed the security situation in Europe in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


Topics included ongoing efforts to support Ukraine and impose costs on Russia, Watson said.


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WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the war in Ukraine has compounded problems in the Western Hemisphere caused by the coronavirus pandemic, such as increased poverty.


Concerns about war decreasing food availability and rising prices have raised fears of increased hunger and starvation in other countries. Blinken said at the annual Conference of the Americas lunch on Tuesday that the effects of war are being felt after the pandemic has inflicted “massive economic damage across the region.”


Delivering the luncheon keynote in Washington, Blinken said: “Now, with the Russian government’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine, many of these pre-existing problems, these pre-existing conditions, have been compounded, increasing the commodity prices across the Americas, from fertilizers to wheat to oil, cutting off key export markets for many industries in the Americas and forcing households across the region to make very heartbreaking choices as the cost of life soars.


Blinken plans to chair two United Nations meetings later this month aimed at highlighting how the war in Ukraine and other conflicts are affecting food availability and prices.


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KYIV, Ukraine – Ukrainian officials say the Russian military struck rail infrastructure across the country.


Oleksandr Kamyshin, the head of Ukrainian Railways, said Russian strikes hit six railway stations in the central and western regions of the country on Tuesday, inflicting heavy damage.


Kamyshin said at least 14 trains were delayed due to the attacks.


Dnipro region governor Valentyn Reznichenko said Russian missiles hit railway infrastructure in the area, injuring one person and disrupting the movement of trains.


The Ukrainian military also reported strikes on railways in the Kirovohrad region, saying there were unspecified casualties.


Ukrainian railways played an important role in the transport of people, goods and military supplies during the war, as roads and bridges were damaged.


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TROY, Ala. – President Joe Biden on Tuesday credited assembly line workers at a Javelin missile factory with saving lives in building the anti-tank weapons that are being sent to Ukraine to stifle the Russian invasion as he made a advocating for Congress to approve US$33 billion so the United States can continue to deliver aid to the front lines.


“You allow Ukrainians to defend themselves,” Biden told workers, his podium flanked by Javelin missile launchers and shipping containers. “And, quite frankly, they mock the Russian military in many cases.”


The president’s visit to the Lockheed Martin plant in Alabama also drew attention to a growing concern as the war drags on: can the United States keep up the pace of shipping large quantities of weapons to Ukraine while maintaining a healthy stock that they might need if a conflict breaks out with the North? Korea, Iran or elsewhere?


The United States has supplied at least 7,000 javelins, including some transferred under the Trump administration, about a third of its stockpile, to Ukraine in recent years, according to analysis by Mark Cancian, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Program in International Security Studies. The Biden administration has said it has pledged to send 5,500 javelins to Ukraine since the Feb. 24 invasion.


Analysts also estimate that the United States has sent about a quarter of its stockpile of shoulder-fired Stinger missiles to Ukraine. Raytheon Technologies CEO Greg Hayes told investors on a quarterly call last week that his company, which makes the weapons system, would not be able to ramp up production until next year, due to parts shortages.


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Christi C. Elwood