Japan to expel 8 Russian diplomats and increase sanctions

Japan on Friday announced plans to expel eight Russian diplomats and phase out Russian coal and oil imports following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, AP reports.

Why is this important: Just last week, countries around the world – including France and Germany – have said they intend to expel a total of at least 151 Russian diplomats.

What they say : In addition to expelling diplomats and halting imports of coal and oil, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Japan will also ban imports of timber, vodka and other Russian products, and ban any new investment in Russia, reports AP.

  • It will also increase sanctions against Russian banks and freeze assets belonging to 400 other Kremlin-linked individuals and groups.
  • “Russia has repeatedly violated international humanitarian law by killing civilians and attacking nuclear power plants. These are unforgivable war crimes,” Kishida told a news conference on Friday, according to Reuters.

By the numbers: The United States and European countries have fired more than 400 Russian diplomats and embassy staff since the Moscow invasion began, Axios’ Zach Basu reports.

  • Many Russians declared “persona non grata” are suspected intelligence officers working under diplomatic cover.

The big picture: Japan joins the United States in banning imports of coal and oil.

  • The European Union on Thursday announced plans to ban imports of Russian coal, though pressure is mounting for it to also cut imports of Russian oil and gas, Axios’ Emily Peck reports.

Go further: UN suspends Russia from Human Rights Council

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