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Sunday, April 17, while the rest of the Christian world celebrates Easter and Pope Francis calls for peace on all war torn terretories, armed conflict continues in Ukriane without clear sights on negotiations for a ceasefire. These are the events as they unfold.
The ban on entry into Belgian ports for Russian-flagged vessels came into force on April 17, Belgian TV channel RTBF reported.
"Currently about 12 Russian ships are heading towards the North Sea coast, they are being monitored by the Belgian authorities. But only three of them are banned from access, taking into consideration various exceptions," the media outlet published.
It was reported earlier that in the ports of Belgium and other European Union (EU) countries will continue to accept Russian ships carrying gas and oil, as well as pharmaceutical, medical and agricultural production, including wheat.
In addition, entry will be allowed on humanitarian grounds, and unloading of coal will be allowed until August 10, 2022.
The European Sea Ports Organization called for ensuring additional personnel in the ports of EU countries to monitor compliance with sanctions against Russia.
Last April 8, the EU approved the fifth package of sanctions against Russia in response to the military operation in Ukraine, which includes, among other measures, the closure of EU ports for Russian-flagged vessels.
Russian Security Council Says EU has Secret Plan
Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev denounced that the Europeans' secret plan is not peace in Ukraine, but a default on payments by Moscow to provoke economic instability in the country.
"A default for Russia could become a default for Europe. Both morally and economically," Medvedev wrote on his Telegram channel.
He added that Europe does not seek peace in Ukraine, but what it seeks is for Russia to default.
"European aunt Ursula [von der Leyen] began actively issuing texts that are no longer devoted to people's sufferings, nor to the end of the special military operation, nor to the long-awaited peace in Ukraine, but to Russia's default on payments," Medvedev wrote.
He added that this is the deep strategy of the EU and the sacred plan of the "masochists from Brussels and their playmates across the ocean."
According to the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, the EU financial system is not entirely stable, "people's confidence is falling" and it was not so destabilized even in the 2008 crisis.
"Expect a big thank you from ordinary Europeans for hyperinflation, which can no longer be blamed on the 'evil Russians', for the lack of basic foodstuffs and for the large number of refugees that will lead to a wave of violent crimes," Medvedev concluded.
Donetsk Confirms Evacuation of More Than 500 People From Mariupol City
In the last day from the city of Mariupol to the locality of Bezimennoye of the Donetsk People's Republic, more than 500 people, including 64 children, were evacuated, the DPR territorial defense headquarters reported.
"Over the past 24 hours, from 8:00 [local time on April 16 to 8:00 on April 17], from Mariupol to Bezimennoye, Novoazovsky district, 526 people, including 64 children, were evacuated," the headquarters said on its Telegram channel.
According to the report, between March 5 and the morning of April 17, 18,955 civilian inhabitants were evacuated to Bezimennoye.
EU To Impose New Santions on Russian Banks
The head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen told a German newspaper, that the European Union will be implementing new sanctions on Russia that will target banks, in particular Sberbank (SBER.MM), as well as oil.
Bild am Sonntag, in an interview published on Sunday, asked von der Leyen to name the key points of a planned sixth round of sanctions.
"We are looking further at the banking sector, especially Sberbank, which accounts for 37% of the Russian banking sector. And, of course, there are energy issues," she said.
EU is considering the 6th package of #sanctions against #Russia. It is expected to affect on #Sberbank, which accounts for 37 % of the banking sector in ����, & oil exports. The #EC announces new sanctions doesn't ban ���� #oil. But, it will impose restrictive sanctions in this area. pic.twitter.com/M1zoz2D2Yz
According to presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, Russia "is capable of resisting the current confrontation with the West", in reference to the rounds of sanctions applied by Western powers led by the European Union and the United States after the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, almost two months ago.
Western countries have continued to impose new sanctions against Moscow in response to the Russian military's special operation in Ukraine. So far, it has been mainly the financial sector and the supply of high-tech products that have been affected.
In addition, some European countries have announced their intention to reduce their dependence on Russian energy supplies in the foreseeable future. The Kremlin called these measures an economic war, one never before seen, but emphasized that they were ready for such a development of events.
However, Russia has been preparing for such an offensive of this magnitude. As Peskov recalled, the Central Bank of Russia took measures to stabilize the situation on the foreign exchange market; payments for gas supplies to hostile countries were transferred to rubles.
Press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov said that Russia will withstand the current confrontation with the West.
The Russian Government has prepared a plan to counter the restrictive measures, which includes about a hundred initiatives. The amount of their financing will be for the equivalent of $12 billion.
At the same time, Peskov emphasized that the pressure of these sanctions on Moscow have had a sort of boomerang effect as many of the santions have only turned into economic problems for the United States and Europe, causing a serious increase in fuel and food prices.
On the other hand, developing countries are suffering the consequences more severely due to these sanctions as fuel and food prices keep rising, while still battling the aftermath of a global pandemic.
To name a few, the sanctions include the disconnection of some Russian banks from the SWIFT system, the freezing of its international reserves, the embargo on the import of some energy agents, as well as the closure of air space, ports and roads for Russian carriers.
For her part, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen believes that Western sanctions will provoke a default in Russia and announced that sanctions against Russia were "getting stronger every week", as a result, Russia is unlikely to avoid a default.
"Every week, sanctions are hitting the Russian economy deeper: exports have collapsed by 70 percent. According to our forecasts, GDP will collapse by 11 percent. Russia's national bankruptcy is only a matter of time." The question is, how long can the West bare the