Brussels, Dec 16 (UiTV/IANS) – European leaders gave their seal of approval to the ninth package of sanctions against Russia following a summit here.
The European Council said in its final declaration of the summit that the leaders had discussed how to further increase collective pressure on Russia to end its military operation and to withdraw its troops from Ukraine, Xinhua news agency reported.
They said they welcomed the reinforcement of European Union (EU) restrictive measures against Russia, including through the EU’s ninth package of restrictive measures and the international oil price cap, while ensuring a global level playing field.
“The European Union stands ready to continue to reinforce the restrictive measures. The European Council underlines the importance of ensuring effective implementation and preventing circumvention and its facilitation,” the leaders said in the conclusions of the meeting.
An 18-billion-euro ($19.1 billion) package of financial aid to help Ukraine was also on the agenda, but the matter was not greenlighted by the leaders.
Heavy Russian shelling disrupts Kherson power supply
The entire central Ukrainian city of Kherson was left without electricity after heavy Russian shelling targeted critical infrastructure and also resulting in two deaths, authorities said.
Kherson, one of the first major cities to fall to Russia since the early days of the invasion, was recaptured by Ukraine last month, dealing a major setback to Moscow.
According to President Volodymyr Zelensky, the city was shelled more than 16 times on Thursday and Kherson’s Governor Yaroslav Yanushevich confirmed that the city is completely without power following the shelling in Kherson’s port district.
“At the first opportunity, the power industry will begin to restore power grids,” Yanushevich said in a social media post.
The Governor said that Thursday’s shelling was for the second day in a row.
He said that a total of six persons were injured with varying degrees of severity.
Of the two victims, one was a member of the rapid response unit of an international organisation and “she was just helping people” during the time of the attack, Yanushevich said in the post.
According to Ukrainian officials, the shells reportedly landed 100m from the city’s main administration building, a day after the building itself was badly damaged.
Besides Kherson, explosions also went off in Ukraine’s second biggest city of Kharkiv, while attacks also continued in the eastern Donbas region.