Ukraine's Zelenskiy says some in West fear economic loss more than war crimes

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends an interview for the representatives of Ukrainian media, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine April 4, 2022. Picture taken April 4, 2022. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS
  • Calls for more rigid EU sanctions
  • Says some prioritising financial loss over war crimes
  • Receive standing ovation in Irish parliament

DUBLIN, April 6 (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Wednesday accused some Western leaders of considering financial losses to be worse than war crimes, saying he could not tolerate indecisiveness on rigid new Russian sanctions.

"When we are hearing new rhetoric about sanctions... I can't tolerate any indecisiveness after everything that Russian troops have done," he said in an address to Ireland's parliament on Wednesday.

"The only thing that we are lacking is the principled approach of some leaders - political leaders, business leaders - who still think that war and war crimes are not something as horrific as financial losses," he added, speaking through an interpreter.

Western gained some impetus for more sanctions this week after dead civilians shot at close range were found in the town of Bucha following a Russian withdrawal. But Europe has so far stopped short of restrictions on Russian gas imports that countries in the region are heavily reliant on.

Zelenskiy called on Dublin to convince its European Union partners to introduce "more rigid" measures against Moscow.

Kyiv and the West say there is evidence, including images and witness testimony gathered by Reuters and other media organisations in Bucha, that the apparent executions were carried out by Russian soldiers.

The Kremlin denies its forces were responsible for the deaths and said on Tuesday that Western allegations Russian forces committed war crimes were a "monstrous forgery."

New U.S. sanctions are set to be unveiled on Wednesday. A fresh round of proposed EU sanctions would ban buying Russian coal, prevent Russian ships from entering EU ports, and suspend nearly 20 billion euros ($21.77 billion) worth of trade. read more

Speaking to a joint sitting of both chambers of Ireland's parliament by video link, Zelenskiy accused Moscow of trying to "destroy the foundations of independent life, destroy our identity, everything that makes us Ukrainian."

He also said Russia was deliberately provoking a global food crisis that could lead to violence and a new wave of refugees.

Russia has denied targeting civilians or civilian infrastructure in what it calls its "special military operation" in Ukraine.

Reporting by Conor Humphries and Padraic Halpin; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Frank Jack Daniel

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