The UK foreign secretary said that “nothing is off the table” for Britain as western politicians prepare further sanctions on Russia following reports of atrocities by its forces in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.
“We need to announce a tough new wave of sanctions. The reality is that money is still flowing from the west into Putin’s war machine, and that has to stop,” Liz Truss said at a press conference with her Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, in Warsaw.
“I will be working with our partners to go further . . . in banning Russian ships from our ports, in cracking down on Russian banks, and going after new industries filling up Putin’s war chest, like gold, and agreeing a clear timetable to eliminate our imports of Russian oil, gas and coal.”
Truss said it was “very clear” that “war crimes” had been committed in Ukraine, but said it was up to the courts to determine whether genocide had taken place, as has been suggested by politicians such as Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky.
Russia “categorically rejects any accusations” its forces killed civilians en masse in Bucha, the Kremlin said on Monday.
Kuleba said “half measures are not enough any more” and called on the west to take “the most severe sanctions against Russia this week”.
“This is not the request of Ukraine’s foreign minister. This is a plea from the victims of rape, torture and killings, their relatives and the entire Ukrainian nation,” he said.
“I have heard thousands of arguments about why this or that sanction cannot be imposed against Russia. It’s time to put all hesitation, reluctance, business-wise arguments aside, and think about human suffering, and the need to stop the Russian war machine.”