Putin still raking in EU funds as bloc increases cash to Moscow’s war machine by a third

Vladimir Putin's legs appear to buckle as he gives speech

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According to data released by the EU Commission, the bloc has even increased its spending with Putin’s Russia by 27 percent since December 2021. The data, analysed by Brexit Facts4EU.Org for CIBUK, shows that Brussels paid Russia £15.7 billion in December 2021. But in March 2022, a month into Putin’s war on Ukraine, the bloc paid £19.6 billion to Moscow.

The bloc gave Russia a total of £69 billion between December 2021 and March 2022.

In comparison, the UK’s monthly purchases from the Russian Federation decreased by 63 percent since December 2021.

Britain paid £1.5 billion to Russia in December, compared to £0.5 billion in March 2022, for a total of £5.6 billion for the entire period.

Commenting on the data, CIBUK wrote: “Despite the continual stream of announcements of ‘economic sanctions’ from the EU Commission and EU Council, (they have just announced their sixth ‘package’), it is astonishing to find that the EU has actually been increasing its spending with Russia.

“On top of this, parts of the latest EU sanctions package still have the end of 2022 as their start date.

“At the same time, the newly independent United Kingdom has now massively reduced its spending with Russia in short order.”

Russian forces swarmed into the eastern Ukrainian city of Sievierodonetsk and pounded a zone where hundreds of civilians were sheltering, a Ukrainian official said on Monday – a scene that mirrored Moscow’s brutal capture of Mariupol last month.

Ukraine has issued increasingly urgent calls for more Western weapons to help defend Sievierodonetsk, which Kyiv says could hold the key to the outcome of the battle for control of the eastern Donbas region and the future course of the war.

In a report that was not confirmed by the Ukrainian side, a Russian-backed separatist said the last bridge into the city had been destroyed on Sunday, effectively blockading its Ukrainian defenders inside.

“They have two options: either follow the example of their fellow soldiers and surrender, or die,” Russia’s RIA news agency quoted separatist spokesperson Eduard Basurin as saying. “They have no other option.”

Regional governor Sergei Gadai had said on Sunday evening the last crossing over the Siverskyi Donets river was still standing after another bridge was destroyed earlier in the day.

“The third bridge is working. But the condition of the bridge is threatening: it is half-destroyed, it is impossible for trucks to move on it,” he said.

On Monday he said fighting was raging in the city, where Ukrainian forces were defending building by building.

“The battles are so fierce that fighting for not just a street but for a single high-rise building can last for days,” he said on social media.

Russian artillery fire also rained down on the Azot chemical plant, where hundred of civilians were sheltering, Mr Gaidai, governor of the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine that includes Sievierodonetsk, said.

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Before Mariupol fell to Russia last month, hundreds of civilians and badly wounded Ukrainian soldiers were trapped for weeks in the Azovstal steelworks.

Ukrainian officials say cholera is now spreading among remaining residents due to bodies buried in rubble from destroyed residential buildings.

Mr Gaidai estimated that Russian forces now controlled about 70 percent of Sievierodonetsk, and said they were destroying it “quarter by quarter” in one of the bloodiest assaults since the invasion was launched on February 24.

“Russians continue to storm the city, having a significant advantage in artillery they have somewhat pushed back the Ukrainian soldiers,” Mr Gaidai said on Monday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly video address on Sunday that Russia was trying to pour military reserves into the Donbas.

“Severe fighting is ongoing there – literally for every metre,” he said.

MR Zelensky said attacks that resulted in child casualties had created a lasting image of Russia for the rest of the world rather than the images Moscow was trying to project.

“Not Peter the Great, not Lev Tolstoy, but children injured and killed in Russian attacks,” he said, in an apparent reference to President Putin’s remarks last week comparing Moscow’s military campaign to Russian emperor Peter the Great’s 18th century conquest of lands held by Sweden.

Russia has denied targeting civilians.

Putin launched what he called a “special operation” to restore Russian security and “denazify” its southern neighbour.

Ukraine and its Western allies call this a baseless pretext for an invasion which has raised fears of wider conflict in Europe.

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