A car crashed into the gate of the Russian Embassy in Bucharest, Romania, on Wednesday morning, according to the Russian state news agency TASS.
The incident happened around 6:30 a.m. local time, TASS said, citing Radio Romania. According to the radio station, the car subsequently caught fire, TASS reported.
According to police, the driver has died, the Russian state news agency said.
Traffic has been restricted on the street where the embassy is located and law enforcement is investigating the causes of the incident, the report added.
Russian airstrikes and heavy fighting continue in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, according to an intelligence update from the UK Ministry of Defence issued Wednesday.
“The humanitarian situation in the city is worsening,” the intelligence update said, and “most of the 160,000 residents remaining have no light, communication, medicine, heat or water.”
“Russian forces have prevented humanitarian access, likely to pressure defenders to surrender,” it added.
Some context: On Monday, Mayor Vadym Boichenko said the southern port city was “on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe,” with more than 100,000 people still requiring evacuation.
Ukrainian officials have consistently decried the Russian military for blocking humanitarian aid and reneging on pledges to allow evacuation corridors for civilians.
An evacuation convoy of seven buses accompanied by the International Committee of the Red Cross was held up Monday in Manhush, a Russian-held town to the west of Mariupol, according to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk.
India’s ambassador to the United Nations condemned the killings of civilians in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, marking a noticeable shift in Indian officials’ public approach to the invasion of Ukraine by its long-time partner Russia.
T.S. Tirumurti, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN, called reports of the killings “deeply disturbing” during a UN Security Council meeting Tuesday.
“We unequivocally condemn these killings and support the call for an open investigation,” Tirumurti said, without naming Russia.
“The situation in Ukraine has not shown any significant improvement since the Council last discussed the issue. The situation has only deteriorated, as well as its humanitarian consequences,” he said.
Some context: Previous statements issued by the Indian government have fallen short of condemning Russia’s aggression, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi instead appealing for a “cessation of violence.”
India has also abstained from various UN resolutions condemning Russia, maintaining that peace talks should be held and the two nations focus on “diplomacy and dialogue.”
Criticism from opposition at home: Tirumurti made his statement on the same day as India’s opposition Congress Party expressed concerns over the nation’s position on the war.
During a parliamentary discussion on the issue, Shashi Tharoor described India’s first UN statement in February as “deplorable.”
“I was shocked, I’ll say very honestly, at our first couple of statements at the United Nations … it was not just the abstention,” Tharoor said.
Fellow Congress Party lawmaker Manish Tewari spoke on the evolving geopolitics, saying “this new Iron Curtain has the potential of actually dividing the world,” and added that India “may not have the option of being able to sit atop this new Iron Curtain.”
“…Russia has been a trusted friend of India, and it has been a long-standing ally. Russia has come to India’s aid in probably our most difficult times … But then Mr. Speaker, sir, friends also have to be told if they are wrong, that they possibly need to get their act together,” Tewari said.
Discussion is scheduled to continue Wednesday with India’s Minister of External Affairs S. Jaishankar to respond.
Ukraine’s president told the UN Security Council that Russian troops killed for “pleasure,” while scenes of devastation from the Russian occupation have emerged from the outskirts of the capital, Kyiv, with bodies of civilians and ransacked homes among the rubble.
Here are the latest developments on the war in Ukraine:
- New horrors: Images from the town of Borodianka following the retreat of Russian forces include bodies of civilians left in the street with signs of torture, including one man with a gunshot to the head, Ukrainian police and residents say, as well as ransacked homes. Borodianka, on the northwest outskirts of Kyiv, was hit by intense shelling and airstrikes before it was occupied by Russian troops on Feb. 28.
- UN meeting: The UN office for human rights on Tuesday said the images of atrocities carried out in the Ukrainian town of Bucha show “all the signs” that civilians were “directly targeted and directly killed.” The comments came after a UN Security Council meeting in which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky questioned the very mandate of the council itself, saying the body should remove Russia or “dissolve” itself.
- Female soldiers “tortured”: More than a dozen female Ukrainian soldiers captured by Russian forces were “subjected to torture and ill-treatment in captivity,” according to a Ukrainian human rights official. The 15 women were among 86 soldiers released Friday from Russian captivity, where they were stripped naked in the presence of men, forced to squat, cut their hair, and interrogated in an effort to break their morale the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights said.
- US to impose new sanctions: The United States could announce sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s adult children as early as Wednesday, according to a Western official familiar with the plans. The move is among new measures in coordination with G7 nations and the EU that will include a ban all new investment in Russia, increased sanctions on financial institutions, and penalties for government officials and their family members, according to an administration official.
- EU ban on Russian coal: The European Commission proposed a phased ban of $4.3 billion worth of Russian coal imports per year as part of a fifth package of sanctions designed to further diminish Putin’s war chest. More details on the new round of punitive measures, including the coal ban timeline, are expected Wednesday.
- NATO meeting: A high-stakes NATO foreign ministers meeting kicks off in Brussels on Wednesday, as US officials warn that Russia’s war in Ukraine could be entering a protracted new phase. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it was “an important moment” to coordinate with allies and partners “on a number of fronts.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russian troops of indiscriminately killing civilians “just for their pleasure” in an emotionally charged address Tuesday to the United Nations Security Council during which he questioned the very mandate of the Security Council itself.
Here’s what to know about his UN speech:
- It came a day after he visited the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, where shocking images of bodies in the streets emerged over the weekend.
- Zelensky said Russia’s actions were no different from those of a terror group, except that Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council.
- Russia has veto power at the UN and has previously used that to block a resolution condemning its invasion of Ukraine.
- The Ukrainian leader criticized the body, asking representatives point-blank:
“Where is the security that the Security Council needs to guarantee? It is not there, though there is a Security Council.”
- Zelensky told the UN it should do one of two things:
- One was to remove Russia “as an aggressor and a source of war so cannot block decisions about its own aggression, its own war.”
- The second, “If there is no alternative and no option, then the next option would be dissolve yourself altogether,” Zelensky said.
“It is obvious that the key institution of the world designed to combat aggression and ensure peace cannot work effectively,” Zelensky said.
- In his damning speech, Zelensky said there was “not a single crime” that the Russians “would not commit,” alleging Russian troops had “searched for and purposefully killed anyone who served our country.”
- Zelensky also warned that the horrors found in Bucha would be replicated in other cities across Ukraine and demanded accountability.
- The president also demanded full and transparent investigations and security guarantees for Ukraine.
Read more on Zelensky’s UN speech here.
The US will announce new sanctions on Russia Wednesday in coordination with Group of Seven nations and the European Union, according to an administration official.
The official said the sweeping package “will impose significant costs on Russia and send it further down the road of economic, financial, and technological isolation.”
The new sanctions package will:
- Ban all new investment in Russia
- Increase sanctions on financial institutions and state-owned enterprises in Russia
- Sanction Russian government officials and their family members
The new sanctions package will mark the latest escalation in efforts by the US and its allies to impose costs on Russia for its invasion and, over time, cut off critical economic sectors the country utilizes to wage the ongoing war.
They also follow new revelations of further atrocities committed by Russian forces in northern Ukraine, with the images of the atrocities committed in Bucha serving as an accelerator to ongoing discussions between the US and its European allies to ramp up the economic costs, officials said.
“These measures will degrade key instruments of Russian state power, impose acute and immediate economic harm on Russia, and hold accountable the Russian kleptocracy that funds and supports Putin’s war,” the official said. “These measures will be taken in lockstep with our allies and partners, demonstrating our resolve and unity in imposing unprecedented costs on Russia for its war against Ukraine.”
The official added, “We had already concluded that Russia committed war crimes in Ukraine, and the information from Bucha appears to show further evidence of war crimes. And as the President said, we will work with the world to ensure there is full accountability for these crimes. One of those tools is sanctions — and we have been working intensively with our European allies on further sanctions.”
More context: The expected sanctions come after the US Treasury announced it will no longer allow Russia to pay down its debt using dollars stockpiled at American banks. While Washington had imposed sanctions on the Russian Central Bank freezing their foreign currency at US banks, the Treasury Department had previously allowed Russia to use those reserves to repay its debt.
It’s a move that officials say will substantially raise the risk of default and undercut urgent efforts by the central bank to stanch the economic bleeding that immediately arrested the Russian economy in the wake of the Western response to the invasion.
Read more about the sanctions here and watch CNN’s reporting below:
On Tuesday, the European Commission proposed a phased ban of €4 billion ($4.3 billion) worth of Russian coal imports per year as part of a fifth package of sanctions designed to further diminish Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war chest. Other proposals target Russian technology and manufacturing imports, worth another €10 billion ($10.9 billion).
Europe has imposed punishing sanctions on Russia’s economy since Putin’s tanks rolled into Ukraine in late February, but stopped short of targeting Russia’s energy sector — until now. Images of unarmed civilians, bound and shot, lying along Bucha’s roads — which were until recently under Russian occupation — have convinced leaders to change tack.
More details on the new round of sanctions, including the timeline for the ban on coal, are expected Wednesday when EU ambassadors meet for talks. The measures still need the approval of all 27 member states.
Sanctioning coal will bite some European countries, but it’s among the easiest energy sources to wean off — much of the world is already doing just that. The trickier question is: What happens next?
How much Russian coal goes to Europe? Russia was the world’s third-largest exporter of coal in 2020, behind Australia and Indonesia, according to the International Energy Agency, with Europe by far its biggest customer.
The continent received 57 million tons of Russian hard coal that year, compared to 31 million tons for China, IEA data shows. This amounted to more than half of Europe’s coal that year, according to Eurostat.
But the EU was already turning away from the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel.
The amount of electricity generated by coal has decreased steadily across the block in recent years, falling 29% between 2017 and 2019, according to analysis by energy think tank Ember.
And despite a brief uptick last year as gas prices hit record highs, the IEA anticipates that European demand for coal will resume its steady decline. Total imports were expected to drop 6% by 2024 even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Other countries could step in to buy Russian coal. The IEA expects India’s coal imports to rise 4% in 2024, and more than 6% in Southeast Asia. Russia has already benefited from a jump in exports to China following Xi Jinping’s block on Australian imports, the agency said in a December report.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russian troops of indiscriminately killing civilians “just for their pleasure” in an emotionally-charged address to the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, before questioning the very mandate of the Security Council itself.
Zelensky’s speech came a day after he visited the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, where shocking images of bodies in the streets emerged over the weekend.
On Tuesday, he related the aftermath of Russia’s retreat from the town in horrifying detail, describing entire families killed, people with their throats slashed, and women raped and killed in front of their children. Zelensky said Russia’s actions were no different from those of a terror group, except that Russia is a permanent member of the UNSC.
The Ukrainian leader then criticized the body, asking representatives point blank: “Where is the security that the Security Council needs to guarantee? It is not there, though there is a Security Council.”
Zelensky added: “It is obvious that the key institution of the world designed to combat aggression and ensure peace cannot work effectively.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to remind you of Article 1, Chapter 1 of the UN Charter. What is the purpose of our organization? Its purpose is to maintain and make sure that peace is adhered to. And now the UN charter is violated literally starting with Article 1. And so what is the point of all other Articles?” he asked.
At least 1,480 civilians have been killed and at least 2,195 have been injured in Ukraine between the start of the Russian invasion on February 24 and April 4, a UN official said at the meeting, citing updated numbers from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). The latest figures on the number of Ukrainian civilians in the conflict had “more than doubled” since the last briefing to the UNSC on March 17.
In Bucha, bodies strewn across the streets and in basements were found by human rights groups and documented by independent journalists. Satellite images suggest some bodies had been there since at least March 18.
In his damning speech, Zelensky said there was “not a single crime” that the Russians “would not commit,” alleging that Russian troops had “searched for and purposefully killed anyone who served our country.”
Oksana Kostychenko walks down a narrow pathway, leading to her back garden in Borodianka. The flower beds on one side are surprisingly well arranged, contrasting with the wanton destruction all around.
Near her garden shed is the body of a man laying face-down with a bag over his head and hands tied behind his back. His trousers are pulled down. There are large bruises on his left leg and a large wound on his head.
Next to his body is a single bullet casing.
“He was executed, gunshot to the head,” an officer with the Ukrainian National Police said.
There are no documents on the man, but authorities on site say all indications show he was another civilian casualty of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war.
The body is one of many recently found in cities to the east of Kyiv that were occupied by Russian forces.
Borodianka was home to 13,000 people before the war, but most fled after Russia’s invasion. What was left of the town, after intense shelling and devastating airstrikes, was then occupied by Russian forces, which moved in on Feb. 28.
Yuriy Pomin was still in town when the Russian attack started.
“The scariest part was when their planes came. They were flying above our house and dropping bombs” Pomin told CNN.
Today, the 33-year-old is cleaning up his fourth-floor apartment. The multi-story building next to his was razed to the ground by a Russian strike, and he’s moving what’s left of his possessions to another house outside the city.
“I cannot stay here,” he said. “It’s not safe.”