US, Europe plan new sanctions as Russia’s latest sovereign payments halted. Top updates

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Amid escalating global tensions on the back of ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, Moscow faced global revulsion and accusations of war crimes Monday after the Russian pullout from the outskirts of Kyiv revealed streets, buildings and yards strewn with corpses of what appeared to be civilians, many of them evidently killed at close range.

This comes at a time when the grisly images of battered or burned bodies left out in the open or hastily buried led to calls for tougher sanctions against the Kremlin, especially a cutoff of fuel imports from Russia. Additionally, Germany and France reacted by expelling dozens of Russian diplomats, suggesting they were spies, and US President Joe Biden said Russian leader Vladimir Putin should be tried for war crimes, according to AP report.

Here are the top updates on Russia-Ukraine war: 

– Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said he would address both the United Nations Security Council and Spain’s Parliament today. Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said Russia is regrouping its troops to gain a tactical advantage in the south of the country, storing fuel and organizing hospitals for an influx of wounded as it prepares for a new offensive. Kyiv officials also warned of a coming attack on Kharkiv in the north, as per Bloomberg report.

– Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russian “war crimes” had made it harder for Ukraine to negotiate with Russia. There has been no update on peace talks that had been set to resume on Monday, according to Reuters report.

– Facebook owner Meta Platforms briefly restricted hashtags related to civilian deaths in northern Ukraine, where bodies of people shot at close range were found in a town seized back from Russian forces, a company spokesman confirmed on Monday. The killings in Bucha, outside Kyiv, have drawn pledges of further sanctions against Moscow from the West.

– Meta spokesman Andy Stone said automated systems that scan for violent imagery on Facebook and Instagram, which the company also owns, were responsible for blocking hashtags including #bucha and #buchamassacre, the Reuters reported.

– Meanwhile, Russia’s latest sovereign bond coupon payments have been stopped, a source familiar with the matter and a spokeswoman for the U.S. Treasury said, putting it closer to a historic default.

– The latest sovereign bond coupon payments have not received authorization by the U.S. Treasury to be processed by correspondent bank JPMorgan, the source said. The payments were due on bonds due in 2022 and 2042. A U.S. Treasury spokeswoman also confirmed that certain payments were no longer being allowed.

– The euro languished near a one-week low against the dollar on Tuesday amid talk of more sanctions against Moscow following international outrage over Ukraine civilian killings, the Reuters reported.

– Additionally, the Australian dollar was flat, hovering near a commodities price rally-fuelled nine-month high, ahead of the country’s central bank’s decision on interest rates later in the day.

– Europe’s single currency was little changed at $1.0975 after dropping as low as $1.0960 in the previous session for the first time since March 28. It had reached a one-month high of $1.1185 just days earlier amid increased optimism for an end to the Ukraine conflict. The euro’s woes boosted the dollar index, which held near a one-week high of 99.083 reached overnight. It last stood at 98.949.

– The dollar weakened 0.20% to 122.515 yen, broadly tracking moves in long-term U.S. Treasury yields, as it continued to consolidate around 122.5 after retreating from a multi-year high of 125.105 on March 28.

(With inputs from agencies)

 

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