Japan to expel 8 Russian diplomats for ‘war crimes’ in Ukraine
Tokyo, Apr 8 (EFE).- Japan Friday announced the expulsion of eight Russian diplomats over the alleged war crime committed against Ukrainians in the war-ravaged European country.
The government said it would also step up economic sanctions against Russia for killing civilians in Ukraine.
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida accused the Russian troops of “inhuman behavior, not only in Bucha, but also in other parts of the Ukraine.”
Kishida cited “the attacks on civilians and nuclear facilities” by the Russian forces in Ukraine.
“Russia has repeated serious crimes against humanity that are unacceptable war crimes,” Kishida told reporters in Tokyo.
“We will cooperate with the global community and impose strong sanctions to halt further escalations, achieve a cease fire, and stop the
Japan followed in the footsteps of its allies like the European Union and the United States that have announced the expulsion of Russian diplomats after photos and videos emerged of the massacre allegedly by Russia in the city of Bucha, north of Kyiv.
Among those expelled include diplomatic envoys from Moscow in Japan and representatives of the Russian commercial office in Tokyo, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hikariko Ono said in a separate press conference.
She said deputy foreign minister Takeo Mori had notified Russian Ambassador Mikhail Galuzin about the decision.
The spokesperson did not elaborate if the Russian ambassador was among those ordered to leave the country.
She said the Russian propaganda to deny the killing of civilians by the military “will never be accepted.”
The Japanese government also announced the decision to reduce its imports of Russian coal and its vodka purchases, industrial machinery, and certain wood products.
Kishida noted that the reduction in coal purchases “is directed towards the cessation of imports,” accompanied by other measures to prevent Japanese energy production.
He said industry using Russian coal had to find alternative sources.
“We will take appropriate measures in each sector and industry, and eventually achieve an embargo,” he said.
The new sanctions are in line with a statement from the Group of Seven on Thursday, specifying that they would phase out or ban coal imports from Russia.
The Japanese prime minister also indicated that he planned to ban new investments in Russia and freeze the assets of the Russian lenders, Sberbank and Alfa Bank.
Japan is likely to reduce further its energy dependence on Russia, which also supplies oil and natural gas to Tokyo.
Kishida also pointed out his “concern” about Russia’s military activities to the north of the Japanese archipelago that houses the disputed South Kuril Islands.