France said on Monday EU member states had agreed on a fourth package of sanctions against Russia.
Details were not officially disclosed, but diplomatic sources said they would include an import ban on Russian steel and iron, an export ban on luxury goods, and a ban on investment in the energy sector. Chelsea football team owner Roman Abramovich and 14 others would be added to the EU blacklist.
Nineteen days into Russia’s invasion, its troops have still failed to capture any of Ukraine’s 10 biggest cities, despite hammering several of them with relentless bombardment.
Drone video footage released by Ukrainian forces in Mariupol showed a desolate wasteland of bombed out buildings, many in flames, with smoke pouring into the sky.
Russian forces have been bearing down on Kyiv from the northeast and northwest, but have made little progress so far towards the capital itself, despite heavy fighting that has reduced suburbs on its outskirts to rubble. In Kyiv itself, an apartment block was hit by a missile overnight, killing at least one person, officials said.
“The staircase was not there anymore, everything was on fire,” apartment resident Maksim Korovii said.
He and his mother ran out to the balcony. “We managed to put on whatever clothes we had at hand and made our way from balcony to balcony and in the end we climbed down by the next building’s entrance.”
In the south, where Russia has made more progress, residents of Odessa, a polyglot Black Sea port of 1 million people, fear their city could be next. They formed a human chain on Monday, singing patriotic songs as they carried sandbags from the beach.
In Donetsk, held since 2014 by Russian-backed separatists, Russia’s defence ministry said at least 20 people had been killed and 28 wounded by what it said was a Ukrainian missile with a cluster charge. It released footage of a missile on a busy street and vehicles destroyed by shrapnel.
Ukraine accused Russia or its allies of carrying out that attack themselves as a pretext: “It is unmistakably a Russian rocket or another munition,” Ukrainian military spokesman Leonid Matyukhin said. Reuters could not verify either account.
PREGNANT WOMAN DIES IN MARIUPOL
The Ukrainian foreign ministry said a pregnant woman who was photographed being evacuated wounded from a maternity hospital in Mariupol bombed by Russia last week had since died along with her unborn baby. Reuters was not able to verify this.
Despite video showing at least two pregnant women being carried out of the ruins, Russia has said the hospital was not used at the time and had been occupied by Ukrainian fighters.
The invasion has sent more than 2.8 million people fleeing across Ukraine’s borders and trapped hundreds of thousands in besieged cities.
Global financial markets rallied on Monday on hopes for progress from the talks. Stocks rose while oil prices gave up some of their massive recent gains.
Russia is the world’s biggest exporter of combined oil and gas, and Russia and Ukraine together supply nearly a third of the world’s grain exports, as well as metals and chemicals used worldwide in industry and agriculture.
The war has caused a surge in commodity prices, threatening the global recovery at a time when inflation in the developed world is already at its highest since the 1980s and many poor countries are facing a food crisis.
Russia itself has been cast into economic isolation never before visited on such a big economy.
According to several US officials, Russia has asked China for military equipment. Moscow and Beijing both denied this.
US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, who met China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi in Rome on Monday, warned Beijing it would “absolutely” face consequences if it helped Moscow evade sanctions.