Zelensky accuses Russia of atrocities in UN address. Top updates

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Russia-Ukraine war: The Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy told the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday that Russia must be held accountable for the war crimes, as the United States and its allies prepared to expand sanctions, according to Reuters report. Additionally, the Ukrainian President challenged the UN to “act immediately” or “dissolve yourself altogether” during a blistering address in which he showed a harrowing video of dead bodies he said were victims of Russian atrocities.

Here are the top updates for this big story today:

– The White House on Wednesday said that the Western countries are planning to isolate the Russian economy further by adding sanctions targeting Russian financial institutions, state-owned companies and government officials, as well as banning new investment in Russia.

– The punishment of Moscow over its actions in Ukraine has been given new impetus this week following the discovery of civilians shot dead at close range in the Ukrainian town of Bucha seized from Russian forces. Between 150 and 300 bodies might be in a mass grave by a church in Bucha, north of the capital Kyiv, Ukrainian human rights ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova said on Tuesday.

– US officials said new economic restrictions on Russia following Bucha would be taken in “lockstep” with other Group of Seven advanced economies and the EU. Proposed EU sanctions, which the bloc’s 27 member states must approve, would bar Russian imports worth 9 billion euros ($9.8 billion) and exports to Russia worth 10 billion euros, including semiconductors and computers, and stop Russian ships entering EU ports.

– Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Zelensky, in a live video address from Kyiv, questioned the value of the 15-member Security Council, which has been unable to take any action over Russia’s invasion because permanent member Moscow is a veto power.

– “We are dealing with a state that turns its veto at the U.N. Security Council into the right to (cause) death,” Zelensky said. “Russia wants to turn Ukraine into silent slaves.”

– While Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia clarified to the Council that Russian troops were not targeting civilians. Additionally, the Kremlin said allegations that Russian forces had executed civilians in Bucha were a “monstrous forgery” staged by the West to discredit it.

– Russia says it launched a “special military operation” in Ukraine to demilitarize and “denazify” a country that President Vladimir Putin regards as an illegitimate state, as per Reuters report.

– The tense Security Council meeting came amid heavy fighting in Ukraine’s south and east as Russia shifts its offensive away from Kyiv after failing to capture any major cities. In the besieged southern port of Mariupol, where tens of thousands are trapped with scant access to food or water, a Dominica-flagged cargo ship sank on Tuesday after being targeted by Russian missile strikes, the vessel’s flag registry said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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