WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Ukraine’s envoy to the United States on Sunday called on President Joe Biden’s administration to impose tougher sanctions on Moscow and to step up arms supplies to Kyiv, saying Russia should be treated “as a terrorist state.”
Ambassador Oksana Markarova in an interview on Fox News Sunday repeated charges that Russia is committing war crimes by targeting civilians, hospitals and schools, and said Ukraine is working with the United States and other countries to collect evidence.
“This is a terrorist state and we should treat Russia as a terrorist state,” Markarova said.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday said the United States has seen “very credible reports” of deliberate attacks on civilians.
Markarova spoke as Ukraine and Russia blamed each other for the collapse of the second attempt in as many days to evacuate civilians from the city of Mariupol, which has been under heavy Russian bombardment.
Markarova renewed a plea for the United States to intensify sanctions against Russia, including imposing a full embargo on imports of Russian oil and gas, and to increase shipments of anti-aircraft systems and other weaponry to Ukraine.
“We are thankful for the sanctions that have been implemented by the United States,” she said. “But since Russia is not changing their behavior, they escalated actually, they are killing us more and more, the sanctions should toughen up.”
The White House is weighing cutting imports of Russian oil and gas, but is wary about a spike in gasoline prices that would fuel decades-high inflation.
Halting Russia’s invasion is vital to preventing the conflict from spreading beyond Ukraine, Markarova said.
“Every large war in the past started locally,” she said. “We know from the past that all of them could have been stopped locally.”
Ukraine, Markarova said, will respond “to any peace talks.”
(Reporting by Jonathan Landay; Editing by Scott Malone, Lisa Shumaker and Mark Porter)