EU targets Russian military top brass in latest sanctions

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Mikhail Mizintsev is among those sanctioned by the EU (AFP via Getty Images)
Mikhail Mizintsev is among those sanctioned by the EU (AFP via Getty Images)

The European Union has targeted senior Russian military officers in its latest round of sanctions, including top brass accused of presiding over a civilian massacre in the town of Bucha and atrocities in Mariupol.

EU officials said they had frozen the assets of 65 people and imposed travel bans on them on Friday.

It brings the total number of Russian officials sanctioned by the bloc to nearly 1,160, including President Vladimir Putin and a number of pro-Kremlin oligarchs and other top officials.

The EU confirmed that Colonel Azatbek Omurbekov and Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, known as the ‘Butcher of Mariupol,’ were among those on the list.

It said Omurbekov “was leading the actions of his military unit and nicknamed ‘the Butcher of Bucha’ due to his direct responsibility in killings, rapes and torture in Bucha,” on the outskirts of Kyiv - although Russia has denied committing any atrocities.

Elsewhere, it accused Mizintsev “of orchestrating the bombardments of the city of Mariupol, killing thousands of civilians, including the shelling of a Mariupol maternity hospital and a theatre, killing hundreds of children.”

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said “there can be no impunity for war crimes.”

The bloc also formally approved an embargo on Russian oil on Friday, with crude to be phased out over a period of sixth months. Other refined petroleum products will be phased out over eight months.

It said that “a temporary exception” would be made for landlocked countries – like Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia – that “suffer from a specific dependence on Russian supplies and have no viable alternative options.”

EU leaders claimed that the move means that around 90 per cent of Russia’s oil exports to Europe will be blocked by the end of the year.

In other developments, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky marked 100 days of war in an impassioned address to the nation.

“Our team is much larger,” he said in a video message. “The Ukrainian Armed Forces are here. Most importantly, our people are here.”

“We have defended Ukraine for 100 days already... Victory will be ours!”

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