How much will the EU's partial oil embargo hurt Russia? Live Ukraine updates
The European Union's latest sanction package that includes a partial oil embargo against Russia drew applause from Ukraine and mixed reviews from energy analysts Tuesday.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the agreement reached late Monday, which bans oil delivered on barges but temporarily exempts pipeline deliveries, will effectively cut around 90% of oil imports from Russia to the E.U. by year's end.
“The oil embargo will speed up the countdown to the collapse of the Russian economy and war machine,” Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.
Analyst Simone Tagliapietra said Russia will be able to sell much of the oil, but probably at a substantial discount. Tagliapietra, an energy expert at the Brussels-based think tank Bruegel, called the embargo “a major blow.”
Matteo Villa, an Italian analyst for the ISPI think tank, was less convinced.
"With oil prices rising and Russian exports holding up for now, the 'blow' received by the Russians falls," Villa tweeted. "The cost to Europeans rises."
Analysts at Russia-based Sinara Investment Bank shrugged off the embargo.
"Although the measures announced by the European Union look threatening, we don't see a crippling impact on the Russian oil sector," the bank said in a statement. "Russian oil producers have time to solve logistics problems and change their client base."
►Kuleba called on the West to provide Ukraine with 155-mm cannons and a multiple launch rocket system. If Ukraine had them, its fighters already would have liberated Kherson and other cities, he said. President Joe Biden has balked at providing Ukraine with missile systems capable of reaching Russian cities.
►Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki on Tuesday said the country is on a “good path” to receive new financing from the European Union to support the more than 3 million Ukrainian refugees Poland has taken in and to compensate for weapons sent to Ukraine.
►Ukraine's national soccer team will play at Scotland on Wednesday in a World Cup qualifier. The winner of the game, which was postponed in March due to the war, will play Wales for a spot in the global tournament.
►Estonia, Latvia and Slovakia signed an agreement to join Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine in the joint investigation team that will coordinate the probe of Russian atrocities through the European Union's Eurojust agency.
►Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s ports is paving the way for a “catastrophic scenario” of widespread shortages and price hikes across Africa, says Senegal President Macky Sall, chair of the African Union.
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A court in the central Ukraine city of Poltava on Tuesday sentenced two captured Russian soldiers to 11 years and six months in prison for their roles in shelling civilian areas near Kharkiv. It was the second war crimes trial since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Alexander Bobykin and Alexander Ivanov served in Russian artillery units that destroyed a school and other buildings in and around Dergachi, a village about 12 miles northwest of Kharkiv, prosecutors said. The men, who watched proceedings from a reinforced glass box, had pleaded guilty to charges of “violating laws and customs of war.”
In the first war crimes trial, Russian soldier Vadim Shishimarin was sentenced last week to life in prison for fatally shooting a Ukrainian civilian.
Russian forces seized half of the eastern Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk, one of the last major cities under Ukrainian control in the Luhansk region, as Moscow continued to make gains in its drive for control of the industrial Donbas. Mayor Oleksandr Striuk said Tuesday that street fighting and artillery bombardments threaten the lives of the estimated 13,000 civilians remaining in the battered city that once was home to more than 100,000. Over 1,500 people in the city have died since the war began in February, he said.
“The city is essentially being destroyed ruthlessly, block by block,” Striuk said.
The Russian shelling on Sievierodonetsk has caused a leak of toxic nitric acid after a tank at a chemical factory was hit, Luhansk Gov. Serhiy Haidai said. Haidai posted a picture of a huge rose-colored cloud hanging over the city and urged residents not to leave their homes and wear gas masks or make improvised masks.
European Union leaders are trying to find a way around the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports that's preventing the exportation of 22 million tons of grain, but they acknowledge alternatives to sea transportation would only carry a fraction of the product.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Tuesday after the EU summit in Brussels that the bloc is exploring getting food out by road and rail, which would transport just one-fifth of Ukraine’s usual monthly exports.
“It is of course more tedious and expensive, but it is necessary to get this wheat out,” she said.
The war in Ukraine has caused a spike in the price of some items that risks fueling a global food crisis. Russian President Vladimir Putin is seeking relief from sanctions in exchange for allowing the Ukrainian grain to be shipped out.
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who's serving nine years in prison on charges he maintains were trumped up, said Tuesday new criminal accusations could extend his incarceration by 15 years.
Navalny said on Instagram that an investigator who visited him in prison told him authorities are now looking into charges of “creating an extremist group to fan hatred against officials and oligarchs” and trying to stage unsanctioned rallies.
Navalny, the most vociferous political foe of Russian President Vladimir Putin, received a nine-year sentence in March on fraud and contempt of court charges following a year-long Kremlin crackdown on his supporters, other opposition activists and independent journalists.
More than three months after Russia's invasion, a top Ukrainian military official warned Tuesday that an end to the brutal conflict that has left much of his country in ruin is not near. Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, cited fierce battles for control of the separatist eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk – and other areas as well.
"I think those people who said that the war would end very soon, that we have already won, that we will celebrate in April, said a dangerous thing," he said. "Unfortunately, the war will continue, and we have a lot to do to win. It is very difficult for us at the front."
Serbia, a stalwart ally of Russia, may join the rest of Europe in adopting sanctions against Russia. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, sworn in for his second five-year term Tuesday, pledged to keep the Balkan country on its European Union membership path. Serbia is the only European nation that has not joined in sanctioning Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
Vucic announced Sunday that he has secured an “extremely favorable” three-year natural gas deal from Moscow. European energy sanctions have focused on oil.
“We will have to deal with new sanctions ... which could damage us so we will ask our European partners to help us,” Vucic said. He said Serbia will not seek NATO membership and would maintain its military neutrality. But he added that Serbia is "not politically neutral" because of its E.U. aspirations.
Contributing: The Associated Press