There is no end to the horror of war. After the images of the buildings gutted by missiles, of women and children fleeing under the blows of artillery and snipers and of cities razed to the ground, the news of summary executions and mass graves coming from the territories reconquered by the Ukrainian forces around Kiev shock the West. And they are relaunching the hypothesis of new, more incisive sanctions including energy sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s Russia – which denies responsibility for what happened – at the same time strengthening the will to bring those responsible for these war crimes before international justice, as well as the UN now deems it necessary. “Russia is committing genocide to wipe out the entire nation of Ukraine”, denounced President Volodomyr Zelensky after his foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, spoke of a “deliberate massacre” carried out by the Russian army in Bucha, a town about 60 kilometers northwest of Kiev. 410 bodies have been recovered so far. A massacre that brings to mind the one that took place more than 25 years ago in Srebrenica, where the Bosnian Serb (and pro-Russian) forces slaughtered thousands of Muslims.
Faced with the news of the atrocities that took place in Bucha – which Moscow attributes to a hoax organized by Kiev with rigged photos – the condemnation of the West was harsh and unanimous. All the leaders of the EU institutions intervened to denounce the incident. Starting with the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, who, like the President of the Peer Roberta Metsola, underlined the need to adopt new and tougher sanctions against Russia. Ursula von der Leyen and the UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, then urged an independent investigation into what happened to be started as soon as possible. With the goal, widely shared in Brussels, of bringing the perpetrators of massacres classifiable as war crimes before the International Criminal Court in The Hague. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also expressed their condemnation, as well as Prime Minister Maril Draghi, for whom “the cruelty of the massacres of unarmed civilians is appalling and unbearable. The Russian authorities will have to give an account of what happened “. Pope Francis, during his visit to Malta, again lashed out against what he called a “sacrilegious war”.
And US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also denounced the Bucha atrocities, urging them not to trust the withdrawal announced by Moscow. Under the emotional thrust of the events, the hypothesis of a new crackdown on Moscow resumes through the adoption by the EU of a fifth package of sanctions that could also include gas supplies, as claimed by the Minister of German defense Christine Lambrecht. Kiev is clamoring for this to the G7 and the EU and the three Baltic member states of the Union have already made it known that they are ready to act also to interrupt the supplies of gas, oil and coal from Russia. On the contrary, Lithuania announced that it has blocked its energy imports since yesterday and Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has called for everyone to proceed quickly along this path. The leader of the Democratic Party, Enrico Letta, is of the same opinion, in favor of a complete embargo on Russian gas and oil.
Europe then remains firm in saying ‘no’ to the payment of Russian gas in rubles while on the table of 27 there are also less heavy measures, such as the extension of the suspension from the swift system of other Russian banks, the ban on the entry of ships of the former USSR in western ports and the blocking of the supply of materials and technological equipment. The issue will certainly be addressed by the next meeting of Coreper, the committee that brings together the ambassadors of the 27 to the EU, set for next Wednesday. While tomorrow and the day after in Luxembourg the economic impact of the crisis will be at the center of the work of the finance ministers of the Eurogroup and Ecofin. And on Wednesday and Thursday it will be up to the Atlantic Council, meeting at the level of foreign ministers, to take stock of NATO’s position.

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