Ukraine on Monday called on Europe’s top human rights body to expel Russia, and the European Union imposed new sanctions on Moscow, targeting the steel, energy and luxury sectors , as well as powerful oligarchs, including Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich.
Speaking via video link, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal urged lawmakers from the 46-member Council of Europe to expel Moscow – describing the human suffering of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and warning that others to to come.
Shmyhal called on the Council’s parliamentary assembly to immediately oust Russia from the body. Those who support unprovoked and unjustified aggression cannot remain within this European family, he said, where human life is the highest value.
The Prime Minister was warmly applauded by the Council, which is separate from the European Union. Based in Strasbourg, France, Europe’s top human rights watchdog has already suspended Russia’s right of representation. Moscow appeared to anticipate further steps by declaring last week that it would no longer participate in the body, which it joined in 1996.
Yet Council of Europe lawmakers are meeting in a special session to consider other measures, including the formal termination of Russia’s membership – which would be a first in the seven-decade history of the EU. organization.
“Not only did the Russian army cross Ukraine’s borders illegally and aggressively, but they crossed the red lines of this organization,” Assembly Speaker Tiny Kox said.
Meanwhile, rotating EU president France has confirmed that the 27-member bloc has adopted a fourth round of sanctions against Russia, targeting its iron, steel and energy industries, as well as exports of luxury goods to Moscow.
He also followed Britain and Australia in adding Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich to a growing list of sanctioned Russian oligarchs.
“It will be another blow to the economic and logistical base on which the Kremlin is building the invasion and taking the resources to fund it,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.
Experts warn that Europe will also pay for its measures against Moscow in slowing growth and rising pump and heating prices. European leaders are warning their citizens to prepare to tighten their belts.