Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Tuesday that “atrocities” carried out in Ukraine must be punished and called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to halt the “massacre of civilians”.
“War crimes must be punished,” Draghi said in a speech in Turin. “President Putin, the Russian authorities and its army will have to be held to account for their actions.”
He called for an independent investigation into deaths in the Ukrainian town of Bucha which came to light on Sunday, triggering international outrage.
Draghi said Italy was aligned with the European Union in its stance over the hostilities in Ukraine and “supports with conviction” a new package of sanctions presented by the European Commission earlier on Tuesday.
EU unveils new sanctions on Moscow as Kyiv mayor calls for halt to ‘bloody money’
The European Union’s executive proposed sweeping new sanctions against Russia on Tuesday, including a ban on coal imports, as the West responds to evidence of civilian killings in a Ukrainian town seized from Russian invaders.
The proposed sanctions, which EU member states must approve, would bar Russian imports worth 9 billion euros and exports to Russia worth 10 billion euros, including semiconductors and computers, and stop Russian ships entering EU ports.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said it was working on banning oil imports too.
“We all saw the gruesome pictures from Bucha and other areas from which Russian troops have recently left. These atrocities cannot and will not be left unanswered,” she said on Twitter.
The announcement came hours after Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko called for all business ties with Russia to be cut, halting the flow of “bloody money”.
Several European countries, including Germany, France and Italy, have announced expulsions of Russian diplomats and Moscow said it would respond in kind.