War in Ukraine: new sanctions, Azovstal resists, call between Putin and Macron, news on Tuesday 3 May

The EU’s top diplomat said Tuesday that the European Union will impose new sanctions on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, targeting the oil industry, more banks and disinformation officials.

“We are working on the sixth package of sanctions aimed at removing more banks from the SWIFT system, listing disinformation actors and combating oil imports,” Josep Borrell, head of European diplomacy, said on Twitter.

The new sanctions will be of particular concern, according to diplomats. Sberbankthe main Russian bank, which will join the list of Russian banks already excluded from the SWIFT payment system.

oil embargo

Josep Borrell and other EU officials said the measures proposed by the Commission will be presented by its president, Ursula von der Leyen, on Wednesday. These sanctions, which will be subject to ratification by 27 EU member states, are expected to ban the import of Russian oil by the end of the year.

An embargo on Russian oil would deprive Moscow of an important source of income, but this measure is not unanimous in Twenty-Seven. Hungary in particular expressed its opposition to this.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West on Tuesday that he could halt Russia’s oil and gas exports in response to EU and US sanctions.

New Russian attack on Mariupol

Dozens of people arrived unharmed in Zaporizhia, still controlled by Ukrainian authorities, on Tuesday after being evacuated from Mariupol, where they had taken refuge for weeks at the Azovstal factory, where the Russian army has attacked.

Those evacuated from the port city, which had been targeted by the Russian army since the start of the offensive launched on February 24, were left by buses in the parking lot of a shopping mall in Zaporijgia, also in southern Ukraine, visibly exhausted. not far from the front lines.

According to Mariupol mayor Vadim Boitchenko, more than 200 civilians are still trapped in Azovstal steelworks, while about 100,000 civilians are still in the city, devastated by the siege and repeated shelling by Russian forces.

“Thanks to the evacuation operation, 101 women, men, children and the elderly were finally able to leave their shelters under Azovstal and came to light two months later,” said Osnat Lubrani, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine. .

The United Nations and the Red Cross coordinated a five-day operation that began April 29 to evacuate women, children and the elderly from the factory.

According to the news in the Ukrainian media, a representative of the Mariupol police said that the Russian army launched a new attack on the Azovstal factory on Tuesday, after Russian planes bombed the area in violation of the night ceasefire.

Azovstal, the last stronghold of the resistance

The Russian Ministry of Defense said that Ukrainian forces took advantage of the ceasefire to create new firing positions, positions that pro-Russian forces “started to destroy”.

The Azovstal factory is the last stronghold of the Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol.

Tatiana Bouchlanova, 64, a Mariupol resident, said she was so used to the Russian bombardment now that she no longer reacted when the shells went off.

“You wake up in the morning and you cry. You cry at night. I don’t know where to go,” she said, wiping her tears as she sat next to a darkened building.

Exchanges between Putin and Macron

Russian President Vladimir Putin told his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, on Tuesday that Western countries could pressure Ukrainian officials to stop “atrocities” against civilians, Russian state media reported, citing the Kremlin.

During a phone call that lasted more than two hours, the newspaper Elysee urged Emmanuel Macron’s Vladimir Putin to allow the evacuation of Ukrainian civilians who had taken refuge at the Azovstal factory in Mariupol to continue.

The French president also said he is ready “to work with competent international organizations to help Ukraine lift the Russian blockade on food exports via the Black Sea”.

This was the first meeting between the two leaders since March 29.

During a phone call with Emmanuel Macron, Vladimir Putin insisted on the role the West could play in putting an end to “war crimes (and) heavy bombardment of Donbass cities” controlled by Russia in eastern Ukraine. pro-Russian separatists

“The West must help put an end to this atrocity by using its influence over the authorities in Kiev and stopping the distribution of arms to Ukraine,” said the Ria agency, quoting the Kremlin.

Vladimir Putin also told Emmanuel Macron that he remains open to dialogue with the Ukrainian government, Russian news agency Interfax reported.