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German chancellor, Ukraine pres. discuss additional sanctions on Russia

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine (L) and Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany in Munich on February 19, 2022. (File photo via Getty Images)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says he has discussed possible additional sanctions on Russia and support for Ukraine in a call with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

In a tweet on Sunday, Zelensky called for punitive measures against Russia, saying he and Scholz discussed “anti-Russian sanctions, defense and financial support for Ukraine.”

“Had a phone conversation with @OlafScholz. We emphasized that all perpetrators of war crimes must be identified and punished,” he wrote.

However, a statement from Scholz’s office on the chancellor’s call with Zelensky did not mention a discussion of the sanctions.

Zelensky has called for an embargo on imported gas and oil from Russia, but Germany so far resisted pressure to do so.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation against Ukraine on February 24. The conflict has provoked a unanimous response from Western countries, which have imposed a long list of sanctions on Moscow. Russia says it will halt the operation instantly if Kiev meets its list of demands, including never applying to join NATO.

Scholz said on Friday that Germany could end Russian oil imports this year but stopping gas imports would be tougher because the country would need to build infrastructure to import gas from alternative sources.

Russian oil accounts for 25% of German imports, down from 35% before the start of Russia’s military operation. Gas imports to Germany from Russia have been cut to 40% from 55%, and hard coal imports to 25% from 50%.

Russian rockets destroy Dnipro airport: Ukraine officials

On Sunday, Ukrainian officials said that Russian forces fired rockets into the country’s Luhansk and Dnipro regions, completely destroying an airport and wounding at least five people, Reuters reported.

Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of the central Dnipropetrovsk region, said on Telegram that there had also been an attack on the airport wounding one person in Dnipro city.

A missile had also hit a building in the Pavlograd district, he added.

Russia’s Defense Ministry also said Moscow conducted an overnight missile attack in Zvonetsky.

“Overnight high-precision missiles destroyed the base and headquarters of the nationalist Dnepr battalion in Zvonetsky, which also recently received reinforcements from foreign mercenaries,” the ministry said.

More than 4.5 million Ukrainians flee war: UN

Meanwhile, the United Nations refugee agency said that more than 4.5 million Ukrainian refugees have fled their country since the Russia-Ukraine conflict began, AFP reported.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said there were 4,503,954 Ukrainian refugees on Sunday, which is 62,291 more than the previous day.

So far, Poland hosts by far the largest number of refugees from Ukraine. As of Saturday, 2,593,902 had crossed into the country.

Moreover, the UNHCR said 686,232 people had traveled to Romania as of Saturday, and a total of 410,882 people have entered Moldova.

The report also adds that as of Saturday, Hungary had taken in 419,101 people from Ukraine and Slovakia 314,485.

A total of 404,418 people had also arrived in Russia by Saturday.

Before the conflict, Ukraine was home to more than 37 million people in territory controlled by Kiev.

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