France's Macron says new Russia sanctions needed after Bucha killings

Destruction in Bucha, Ukraine, on April 3, 2022. PHOTO: NYTIMES

PARIS (REUTERS) - French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday (April 4) that a new round of sanctions targeting Russia were needed and that there were clear indications Russian forces were responsible for the killings of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

"There are very clear clues pointing to war crimes. It is more or less established that the Russian army is responsible (for the Bucha killings)," Mr Macron told France Inter radio.

"What happened in Bucha demands a new round of sanctions and very clear measures," he added.

Those new sanctions should target coal and oil, said Mr Macron who faces a re-election battle this month.

Germany is the main roadblock to imposing tougher sanctions on Russia, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Monday during a news conference, adding that Hungary was not blocking them.

His comment comes after Prime Minister Viktor Orban won a national election on Sunday after facing criticism over an insufficiently tough stance on Russian aggression in Ukraine.

"We have to see that, regardless of how we approach Hungary, this is the fourth such win and we have to respect democratic elections... it’s Germany that is the main roadblock on sanctions. Hungary is for the sanctions,” Mr Morawiecki said.

He echoed Mr Macron in calling for an international investigation into what he termed a "genocide" carried out by Russian troops in Ukraine.

"We are proposing an international commission to investigate this crime of genocide," he said, referring to the apparent killing of civilians in Bucha.

Russia on Sunday denied its forces were responsible for the deaths of civilians in the town of Bucha and said Ukraine had staged a performance for the Western media.

Russia's economy is facing the gravest crisis since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union after the United States and its allies imposed crippling sanctions due to Mr Putin's Feb 24 invasion of Ukraine.

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