Dutch customs officials placed 14 yachts in five shipyards under “special surveillance” on Wednesday because they are being built or repaired for wealthy Russians.
Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said 12 yachts are under construction and two are undergoing maintenance. The boats will not be allowed to leave the country due to the export ban and sanctions imposed on hundreds of wealthy supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Netherlands has been criticized for being slow to enforce sanctions.
Russian owners accounted for 9% of all superyacht owners in 2021, making Russia the second largest owner country behind the United States, according to Superyacht Times.
The US government on Monday seized a 254ft yacht in Spain belonging to an oligarch with close ties to Putin. Other countries have also taken over the luxury boats.
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► The Russian army has killed more than 320 civilians in Bucha, Mayor Anatolii Fedoruk said on Wednesday.
► $100 million worth of Javelin anti-tank missiles will be sent to Ukraine to meet an urgent need, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement. The transfer brings total US military aid to Ukraine to $2.4 billion since President Joe Biden took office last January.
► Greece expels 12 Russian diplomats. Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Western countries have expelled more than 150 Russian diplomats.
Pope Francis kisses the Ukrainian flag and pleads for an end to the war
Pope Francis kissed the Ukrainian flag and renewed his call on Wednesday for an end to Russia’s war in Ukraine. During his weekly audience in the Vatican auditorium, several Ukrainian children – now refugees in Italy – joined him on stage. The pope rolled up the faded and stained flag and waved it, saying the flag “came from the war, from that martyred city of Bucha.” He condemned “the massacre” in this town outside kyiv.
“Ever more horrible cruelties, even against defenseless civilians, women and children,” the pope said. “These are victims whose innocent blood cries to heaven and begs.”
The White House will announce new sanctions against Russia
The Biden administration will announce a ban on new investment in Russia and other new sanctions on Wednesday in response to atrocities such as recent revelations of barbaric acts in the town of Bucha. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the measures are designed to “degrade key instruments of Russian state power, impose acute and immediate economic harm on Russia, and hold the kleptocracy accountable.” which finances and supports Putin’s war”.
The sanctions, taken in coordination with G-7 and European Union allies, also involve increased sanctions against financial institutions and state-owned companies, as well as Russian government officials and their family members.
Following sanctions imposed on Russia following President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s economy is expected to shrink by up to 15% or more in 2022, according to the Institute for International Finance .
UN to suspend Russia from Human Rights Council
The UN Security Council fell silent on Tuesday when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy released a video showing the destruction that had taken place in the town of Bucha in previous weeks. Footage showed hundreds of corpses strewn across the streets. Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia again denied that Russian troops killed civilians, saying the killings were acts of Ukrainians. He said that Russia did not come for Ukrainian land, but to bring peace to the Donbass region.
“To do this, it is necessary to root out the cruelty…and to eliminate the malignant Nazi tumor that is eating up Ukraine and would eventually have begun to eat up Russia,” Nebenzia said. “We will achieve this goal, hopefully, as soon as possible.”
Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council and has the right of veto. US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the US, in coordination with Ukraine and many other UN member states, would seek Russia’s suspension from the Human Rights Council. the UN man.
“Every day we see more and more how little Russia respects human rights,” she said.
– Celina Tebor
Contributor: The Associated Press