More than a million people, including nearly 200,000 children, were abducted Ukraine to Russia in the last two months, officials in Moscow have claimed.
According to the Russian news agency Tass, that figure includes 11,550 people resettled from Ukraine to Russia in the past 24 hours “without the involvement of the Ukrainian authorities”.
According to the report, civilians were evacuated from the “dangerous regions” of Donetsk, Luhansk and other parts of Ukraine.
It comes as around 100 civilians were evacuated from the besieged city of Mariupol on Monday and many more are still trapped at the Azovstal Steelworks.
Meanwhile, the European Commission is expected to propose a sixth set of EU sanctions against Russia in Brussels this week, including a possible embargo on Russian oil purchases.
Kyiv says Russia’s energy exports to Europe, so far largely exempt from international sanctions, are funding the Kremlin’s war effort with millions of euros every day.
“This package should include clear steps to block Russia’s revenue from energy resources,” the Ukrainian president said Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address.
Germany said on Monday it was ready to back an immediate EU embargo on Russian oil after the country’s economy and climate minister, Robert Habeck, said on Sunday it was “realistic” to abandon Russian oil by late summer .
“We made it so that Germany can endure an oil embargo,” said Habeck.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who has been more cautious than other Western leaders in supporting Ukraine, is under mounting pressure to take a harder line on Russian oil.
Mr. Scholz promised sanctions will not be lifted until the Russian President Wladimir Putin signs a peace deal with Ukraine that Kyiv can support, he said in an interview with public broadcaster ZDF.
In another show of support for Ukraine, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson evoked Britain’s fight against Nazi Germany when he addressed the Kiev parliament yesterday and said his country’s resistance to the Russian invasion was its “finest hour”.
The prime minister became the first Western leader to address the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, via video link, almost two months after Mr Zelenskyy delivered his own message to the lower house.
Mr Johnson said the UK was “proud to be among the friends of Ukraine” and announced a new £300m package of defensive military aid including electronic warfare kits, a counter-battery radar system, GPS jammers and thousands of night vision goggles.
“We, along with your other friends, will continue to provide arms, finance and humanitarian aid to Ukraine until we achieve our long-term goal of strengthening Ukraine so that no one dares attack you ever again,” he told Mr Johnson .
Mr. Zelensky made his first appearance in Parliament since the beginning of the war and was greeted with cheers and applause.
“Ukraine and Britain have gone from partners to friends and brothers, and the one who lied about being a friend and brother has gone from a neighbor to an occupier and terrorist,” he said, referring to Russia.
Mr Johnson accused Mr Putin of “sowing the seeds of disaster for himself and for his country” and said his army was guilty of war crimes.
“This is about the right of Ukrainians to protect themselves against Putin’s violent and murderous aggression,” he said.
“It’s about Ukrainian democracy against Putin’s tyranny.”
Mr Johnson acknowledged that the West failed to impose sufficiently tough sanctions on Russia after invading Ukraine in 2014, adding: “We cannot repeat the same mistake.”
In a phone call yesterday, Mr Putin told French President Emmanuel Macron that he was open to dialogue with Kyiv.
Mr Macron urged Mr Putin to agree to a ceasefire and said he had “deep concerns” about Russia’s attacks on Mariupol and in the Donbass region.
Additional support for Ukraine also came from the Vatican, as Pope Francis said he had requested a meeting with Mr Putin in Moscow to try to end the war in Ukraine but received no response.
The Pope also said of Italy Corriere della Sera newspaper that Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church, who supports the war with all his might, “cannot become Putin’s altar boy”.
Pope Francis, who paid an unprecedented visit to the Russian embassy early in the war, told the newspaper that about three weeks after the conflict began, he asked the Vatican’s top diplomat to send a message to Mr Putin.
He said the message was “that I was ready to go to Moscow. Certainly it was necessary for the Kremlin leader to allow an opening. We have not yet received an answer and are still insisting on it”.
He added: “I am afraid that Putin cannot and does not want to have this meeting at this time. But how can you not stop so much brutality?” (© Independent News Service)
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/more-than-one-million-ukrainians-evacuated-to-russia-says-moscow-41612677.html More than a million Ukrainians have been “evacuated” to Russia, Moscow says