PARIS - France has called the deaths of civilians in Bucha, Ukraine, “a new step in horror” and has vowed to ensure such an act “does not remain unpunished.”

France is also in favour of a tougher sanctions regime against Russia, French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said during a news conference on Wednesday.

“After these massacres, we must go further,” he said. “President Macron has told President Zelensky that we have no taboos in terms of sanctions, and he repeated that we are ready for drastic measures on imports of Russian coal and oil.” Asked by a journalist why France wasn’t blocking natural gas imports from Russia, Attal said that sanctions were “being discussed and worked on at the European level,” and added that it is easier for “us French who only depend on it for 20% of energy needs than for other countries who depend on it for 50, 60 or even 100% of theirs.”  France “has always said that we are in favour of taking sanctions to the maximum level possible, and dialogue continues at the European level,” he said.

UK’s Boris Johnson says Russia’s actions in Bucha could be genocide

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested Russia’s atrocities in the Ukrainian town of Bucha and elsewhere are close to resembling “genocide” and vowed more sanctions are on the way.

“I’m afraid that when you look at what’s happening in Bucha, the revelations that we’re seeing from what Russian President Vladimir Putin has done in Ukraine, which you know, doesn’t look far short of genocide to me, it is no wonder that people are responding in the way that they are,” Johnson told reporters on Wednesday.  While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly accused Russian forces of committing genocide in his country, other leaders have stopped short. The claim carries a complex legal weight and investigations are underway into war crimes alleged to have been committed by Russian forces. Evidence of civilian deaths in Bucha at the hands of Russian forces have nonetheless sparked global condemnation and triggered fresh responses from the West.  “I have no doubt that the international community, Britain very much in the front rank, will be moving again in lockstep to impose more sanctions and more penalties on Vladimir Putin’s regime,” Johnson vowed.

Regarding phasing out dependency on Russian energy imports, Johnson said, “I think it was a great mistake not to invest long term in nuclear power” and added it is “possible to be more urgent” in rolling out renewables.