Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky says EU must hit Russian oil, banks

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged the European Union to impose sanctions on all Russian banks and Russian oil and to set a deadline for ending imports of Russian gas.

“We cannot wait … We need powerful decisions, and the EU must take them now. They must sanction oil and all Russian banks … Each EU state must set terms for when they will refuse or limit (Russian) energy sources such as gas”, he said via video link on Tuesday.

“Only then will the Russian government understand they need to seek peace, that the war is turning into a catastrophe for them,” he told the Lithuanian parliament in a video address.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his troops into Ukraine on February 24 on what he calls a special military operation to demilitarise and “denazify” Ukraine. Ukraine and the West say Putin launched an unprovoked war of aggression.

The EU executive is drafting proposals for a possible EU oil embargo on Russia, foreign ministers have said, although there is still no agreement to ban Russian crude.

Galvanised by what Ukraine says are senseless killings of civilians by Russian troops since the start of the invasion, the bloc last week approved a fifth round of sanctions on Russia that included an end to Russian coal imports.

Mr Zelensky told the parliament that Russian soldiers had behaved the same everywhere they had stayed as they did in the town of Bucha.

Russian forces are accused of killing many civilians there, although the Kremlin has denied this and says the incident was staged.

The Ukrainian leader also said Russia had deported hundreds of thousands of people from occupied Ukrainian regions into “filtration camps”.

There was no comment from Moscow moment on the latest allegations but it generally denies targeting and abusing civilians in the conflict.

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