The UN General Assembly will vote Thursday on suspending Russia from the UN Human Rights Council following allegations that Russian troops deliberately murdered civilians in Bucha, Ukraine, the assembly presidency said.
The vote is "confirmed for 10:00 am," Paulina Kubiak, a spokeswoman for the presidency, said Wednesday.
Two-thirds of the countries who cast votes in the 193-member assembly must support suspension for Russia to be temporarily removed from the Geneva-based Human Rights Council.
The vote comes amid international outrage over horrific scenes of civilian killings in areas of Ukraine recently retaken from Russian forces, like Bucha outside Kyiv, including people apparently executed with their hands tied behind their backs.
"The images out of Bucha and devastation across Ukraine require us to now match our words with action," US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Monday.
"We cannot let a member state that is subverting every principle we hold dear to continue to participate" in the council, she said.
The UN Human Rights Council is the world body's main forum in this domain. Founded in 2006, it is composed of 47 member states which are chosen by the General Assembly.
Libya was suspended from the council in 2011.
"Russia should not have a position of authority in that body, nor should we allow Russia to use its seat on the Council as a tool of propaganda to suggest they have a legitimate concern about human rights," the US ambassador said.
Here are the Highlights on Russia-Ukraine War:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday called on Western politicians to quickly agree on an embargo of Russian oil, complaining that their failure to do so was costing Ukrainians their lives.
In an early morning video address, Zelenskiy also said he would continue to insist Russian banks be completely blocked from the international finance system.
The United States and Britain announced new sanctions against Russia Wednesday after Ukraine said hundreds of civilians were found dead around its capital, as Kyiv warned residents in the east to get out "now" ahead of a feared assault.
The White House unveiled measures targeting Russia's top banks and two daughters of President Vladimir Putin, while Britain sanctioned two banks -- and vowed to eliminate all Russian oil and gas imports by year-end.
Russia is blocking humanitarian access to the besieged port city of Mariupol because it wants to hide evidence of "thousands" of people killed there, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday.
"The reason why we cannot get into Mariupol with the humanitarian cargo is precisely because they are afraid... that the world will see what is going on there," Zelensky told Turkey's Haberturk TV.
The Pentagon said on Wednesday it assessed that Ukraine could win the war against Russia, even as U.S. officials speak of the risk of a protracted conflict.
"Of course they can win this," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told a news briefing.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Wednesday condemned hesitancy in Europe over barring Russian energy imports, arguing some leaders were more concerned with business losses than with war crimes.
New "rhetoric" about sanctions had emerged, he told the Irish parliament, "but I cannot tolerate any indecisiveness after everything we have gone through and everything that Russia has done to us".
Greece announced Wednesday that it was expelling 12 Russian diplomats, becoming the latest EU country to order such expulsions amid increasing outrage over the war in Ukraine.
"Greek authorities have declared 12 members of diplomatic and consular missions of the Russian Federation accredited in Greece... as personae non gratae," the foreign ministry said.
Russia wants to maintain diplomatic relations with Western countries despite a series of expulsions of its diplomats, the Interfax news agency cited Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko as saying on Wednesday.
Grushko said European countries disrupting the work of Russian diplomats were damaging their own interests.
Pope Francis on Wednesday hit out at the "ever more horrendous cruelty" in the town of Bucha in Ukraine, where dozens of bodies have been found in mass graves or littering the streets.
"The recent news about the war in Ukraine, instead of bringing relief and hope, instead attests to new atrocities, such as the Bucha massacre. Ever more horrendous cruelties, also perpetrated against defenceless civilians, women and children," Francis said during the weekly general audience.
The European Union will put more sanctions against Russia on top of the latest package announced on Tuesday, likely including measures against imports of Russian oil, the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday.
"These sanctions will not be our last sanctions," she told European Parliament in a presentation of the latest sanctions package that includes a ban on buying Russian coal.
"Now we have to look into oil and revenues the Russia gets from fossil fuels," she said.
The world must act to stop the mass murder in Ukraine, British Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Wednesday.
"This is mass murder on an unprecedented scale in Europe. We haven't seen the likes of this I think since 1995," he told BBC television.
"I don't want to be commemorating another genocide in Europe years from now. We have the power, the world has the power to stop this, and it must act."
Ukraine will try to evacuate trapped civilians through 11 humanitarian corridors on Wednesday but people trying to leave the besieged city of Mariupol will have to use their own vehicles, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.
Efforts to get convoys of buses into the southern port city to evacuate tens of thousands of residents who are trapped there have repeatedly failed since Russian forces encircled Mariupol.
Moscow will fight attempts to seize Russian property abroad in courts around the world, former president Dmitry Medvedev said in a post on the Telegram social network on Wednesday.
"Opponents of Russia... should understand that they will face a large number of cases in courts. Both in the national courts of the United States and Europe and in international courts," said Medvedev, who served as president from 2008 to 2012 and is now deputy secretary of Russia's Security Council.
Dutch customs authorities have impounded 14 yachts in shipyards, including 12 still under construction, as part of Western sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, the Netherlands' foreign minister said Wednesday.
"Given the current measures, these vessels cannot be delivered, transferred or exported for the moment," Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra wrote in a letter to the Dutch parliament.
Russian forces struck a fuel depot near the central Ukrainian city of Dnipro overnight, regional authorities said Wednesday, hitting an area that has avoided the brunt of fighting.
"The night was alarming and difficult. The enemy attacked our region from the air and hit an oil depot and a factory. The oil depot with fuel was destroyed," the region's governor, Valentin Reznitchenko, said in a statement on social media.
He said that no one was wounded in the attack and that firefighters fought for eight hours to extinguish the flames.
A Russian regional official said on Wednesday that border guards in the Kursk region bordering Ukraine had come under fire.
"Yesterday, on April 5, they tried to fire mortars at the position of our border guards in the Sudzhansky district," said Roman Starovoit, the governor of the Kursk region. "Russian border guards returned fire... There were no casualties or damage on our side."
Russia last week accused Ukrainian forces of carrying out an air strike against a fuel depot in the Russian city of Belgorod near the border with Ukraine, but a senior Ukrainian official denied responsibility.
Authorities in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk hope to evacuate civilians through five "humanitarian corridors" on Wednesday and urged residents to get out "while it is safe."
Ukraine has said Russian troops that invaded on Feb. 24 are regrouping and preparing for a new offensive in the Donbas area, which includes Luhansk.
"We will take everyone out if the Russians allow us to get to the meeting places (for evacuation). Because, as you can see, they don't always observe ceasefires," the Luhansk region governor, Serhiy Gaidai, wrote on the Telegram messaging app.
"I appeal to every resident of the Luhansk region - evacuate while it is safe ... While there are buses and trains - take this opportunity. "
A driver died ramming his car into the gate of the Russian embassy in Bucharest early on Wednesday, police in the Romanian capital said in a statement. Watch here.
African leaders, opposition figures and social influencers are stepping up their support for the Kremlin even as Russia's image elsewhere is being shredded by the war in Ukraine.
Some of Russian President Vladimir Putin's most vocal defenders are pan-Africanists -- advocates of the doctrine of African unity and anti-imperialism that flowered at the height of the Cold War.
Putin "wants to get his country back," Kemi Seba, a Franco-Beninese pan-Africanist, declared in early March.
"He doesn't have the blood of slavery and colonisation on his hands," Seba argued.
"Putin is not my Messiah but I prefer him to all the western presidents and all the damned African presidents who are under the thumb of western oligarchy."
Turkey on Wednesday joined the global condemnation of the murder of civilians in the town of Bucha and other cities in Ukraine, and called for an independent investigation.
"The images of the massacre, which have been published in the press from various regions including Bucha and Irpin near Kyiv, are appalling and sad for humanity," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Aside from a tweeted message by the Turkish embassy in Ukraine on Monday, it was the first official reaction from Turkey after dozens of bodies were found in mass graves or littering the streets near the Ukrainian capital over the weekend.
The United States was expected to announce tough new sanctions on Russia Wednesday, including a ban on new investments, a day after Ukraine's president showed the UN Security Council harrowing images of violence and accused Moscow of widespread atrocities.
The sanctions come after an outcry over the discovery of dozens of bodies in civilian clothing in areas from which Russian troops have withdrawn around Ukraine's capital, including the town of Bucha.
Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky likened Russia's actions to Nazi atrocities in an impassioned speech by videolink to the 15-member UN Security Council on Tuesday.
Heavy fighting and Russian air strikes continue in the encircled Ukrainian city of Mariupol, British military intelligence said on Wednesday.
"The humanitarian situation in the city is worsening," the defence ministry said.
"Most of the 160,000 remaining residents have no light, communication, medicine, heat or water. Russian forces have prevented humanitarian access, likely to pressure defenders to surrender."
Reuters could not immediately verify the report.
A top American commander has said that there is zero loss of momentum in the India-US defence relationship despite the Ukrainian crisis. Read more here.
Twitter announced Tuesday it was introducing new measures against Russian government accounts to reduce the impact of official propaganda on the social network.
The official accounts will no longer be "recommended" to Twitter users across all categories of the app, including in searches, the platform said in a statement.
The California company, like its rival Meta, parent company of Facebook and Instagram, had already blocked the accounts of the Russian state-run media RT and Sputnik in the European Union.
Moscow responded by restricting access to Twitter in the country, and blocking Facebook and Instagram.
The New Zealand government said on Wednesday it was introducing a 35% tariff on all imports from Russia and would extend existing export prohibitions to industrial products closely connected to strategic Russian industries.
"The images and reports emerging of atrocities committed against civilians in Bucha and other regions of Ukraine is abhorrent and reprehensible, and New Zealand continues to respond to Putin's mindless acts of aggression," Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said in a statement.
She said the government expects to roll out further measures under the Russian Sanctions Act to support Ukraine. The new tariffs and sanctions will come into force from April 25.
The United States will provide an additional $100 million in security assistance to Ukraine, including anti-armor systems, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky challenged the UN to "act immediately" or "dissolve yourself altogether" during a blistering address in which he showed a harrowing video of dead bodies he said were victims of Russian atrocities.