146 members of Russia’s upper house of parliament and 14 Kremlin-linked oligarchs and relatives have been added to The European Union;s sanctions list over Moscow’s war in Ukraine, officials said.
“We are further tightening the net of sanctions responding to Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine,” European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen wrote in a tweet.
So far EU sanctions had hit hundreds of members of the lower house, the Duma, who voted in favour of Russia’s recognition of the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.
The bloc has assigned 500 million euros ($547 million) for humanitarian aid to Ukraine, saying it had taken in two million refugees fleeing the Russian invasion so far and expected millions more.
The euro and other European currencies edged up on Wednesday ahead of this week’s central bank meeting and supported by reports that the European Union was discussing joint bond issuance to finance energy and defence spending.
After touching a 22-month low on Monday sliding to as much as $1.0806, the euro rose 0.5 per cent on the day to $1.0946 helped by a report citing unnamed officials that said the European Union was discussing joint bond issuance.
Sterling rose 0.3 per cent against the dollar to $1.3134.
Russian forces have subjected some Ukrainian cities and towns to devastating bombardment and left places like the port of Mariupol without power or water for days.
The Ukrainian military is building up defences in cities in the north, south and east, and forces around Kyiv are “holding the line” against the Russian offensive.
Thousands of people are thought to have been killed, both civilians and soldiers, in two weeks of fighting since President Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded.
Kyiv regional administration head Oleksiy Kuleba said the crisis for civilians was growing in the capital, with the situation particularly critical in the city’s suburbs.
“Russia is artificially creating a humanitarian crisis in the Kyiv region, frustrating the evacuation of people and continuing shelling and bombing small communities,” he said.
In addition to material support for Ukraine, Western countries have sought to pressure Russia through a series of punishing sanctions.
Ukraine’s president has pleaded repeatedly for warplanes to counter Russia’s significant air power, but Western countries have disagreed over how best to do that amid concerns it could raise the risk of the war expanding beyond Ukraine.
Moscow calls its action a “special military operation” to disarm its neighbour and dislodge leaders it calls “neo-Nazis.”
Kyiv and its Western allies dismiss that as a baseless pretext for an unprovoked war against a democratic country of 44 million people.