The United States has pledged $100 million (£75m) in anti-armour weapons to Ukraine after Volodymyr Zelensky pleaded for military assistance to help destroy Russian tanks, UK Telegraph reports.
President Joe Biden is also preparing to impose new sanctions on Russia on Wednesday, including a ban on all new investments, following fresh evidence of war crimes in the city of Bucha.
The Pentagon said the extra funding would be used “to meet an urgent Ukrainian need for additional Javelin anti-armour systems.”
The Javelin is a shoulder-fired portable missile system, manufactured in the US at a cost of $80,000 apiece, which has proven invaluable in holding back the columns of Russian tanks.
The new sanctions will target the Kremlin’s financial institutions, state-owned enterprises, as well as government officials and their family members, the White House said.
“The goal is to force them to make a choice. The biggest part of our objective here is to deplete the resources that Putin has to continue his war against Ukraine,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
US military aid to Ukraine now comes to “more than $1.7 billion since the beginning of Russia’s premeditated and unprovoked invasion on February 24”, and more than $2.4 billion since the beginning of Mr Biden’s term in office, she added.
Separately, the Treasury Department will block any Russian government debt payments with dollars from accounts at US financial institutions, making it harder for Russia to meet its financial obligations.
The European Commission has proposed new sanctions including banning Russian coal imports and halting trade worth nearly £16.6 billion in retaliation over the atrocities in Bucha.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, compared the behaviour of Russian troops to that of the Nazis in an impassioned speech by videolink to the 15-member UN Security Council on Tuesday.
“They cut off limbs, slashed their throats, women were raped and killed in front of their children,” Zelensky said.
In towns around Kyiv, civilians had been tortured, thrown down wells, blown up with grenades in their apartments and crushed to death by tanks while in cars, he said.
Those who carried out the killings and those who gave the orders “must be brought to justice immediately for war crimes” in front of a tribunal similar to the Nuremberg trials after the Second World War, he said.
Photos and video footage from Bucha, 16 miles north-west of Kyiv, show unarmed civilians shot in the head at close range with their hands tied behind their backs.
Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, said the images revealed “not the random act of a rogue unit” but “a deliberate campaign to kill, to torture, to rape, to commit atrocities.”
The reports of atrocities were “more than credible,” he said.
The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court at The Hague opened an investigation a month ago into possible war crimes in Ukraine.
Vassily Nebenzia, Moscow’s UN ambassador, claimed that while Bucha was under Russian control, “not a single local person has suffered from any violent action.”
Reiterating what the Kremlin has contended for days, he said that video footage of bodies in the streets was “a crude forgery” staged by the Ukrainians.