The European Union considered new sanctions against Russia on Wednesday, including measures targeting Russia’s oil and banking industries.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has pushed for more extensive European actions to cut off imports of Russian energy, and said earlier this week that a new EU package “should include clear steps to block Russia’s revenues from energy resources.”
Inside Ukraine, Russia intensified its shelling in the eastern and southern parts of the country, actions that Zelenskyy characterized as Russian forces reacting “with great anger to our successes.”
“The sheer scale of today’s shelling clearly does not indicate that Russia has any special sort of specific military aim,” he said in a Tuesday evening address.
Russia’s targets included the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, where the last remaining Ukrainian troops have been holed up in the Azovstal steel plant along with several hundred civilians.
The United Nations said Tuesday that 101 people had been safely evacuated from the site and taken, along with other civilians from the town of Manhush, to the Ukrainian-held city of Zaporizhzhia, about 230 kilometers northwest of Mariupol where they are receiving humanitarian assistance and health care.
Osnat Lubrani, the U.N.’s humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine, said she was “pleased and relieved” that the civilians, including older men and women and children, had been evacuated from Azovstal plant.
“Over the past days, traveling with the evacuees, I have heard mothers, children and frail grandparents speak about the trauma of living day after day under unrelenting heavy shelling and the fear of death, and with extreme lack of water, food, and sanitation,” Lubrani said.
“They spoke of the hell they have experienced since this war started, seeking refuge in the Azovstal plant, many being separated from family members whose fate they still don’t know,” she said. “I saw the tears of joy as family members trapped in different parts of the plant for two months were reunited.”
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss discussed support for Ukraine in a telephone call. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the diplomats talked about “additional security and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and continued transatlantic unity,” as well as “economic consequences for those who continue to provide financial or material support that aids the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine.”
Some information came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Press and Reuters.