In recent hours the US and Western allies have warned they will punish Russia for its actions in Bucha.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Monday that Russian president Vladimir Putin and his supporters would “feel the consequences” and that Western partners would intensify sanctions against Moscow.

Meanwhile US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the US was working “intensively with its European allies on further sanctions to raise the pressure and raise the cost on Putin and on Russia“.

France and Germany has also said they would expel Russian diplomats from their countries.

In response, Russia said it would retaliate and “slam shut the door on Western embassies”, Reuters reported Russian ex-president and deputy head of security council Dmitry Medvedev as saying.

Cheaper for everyone

“It will be cheaper for everyone. And then we will end up just looking at each other in no other way than through gunsights,” he warned.

China’s foreign minister Wang Yi spoke to his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba on Tuesday, with China again calling for talks to end the conflict in Ukraine.

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The call is the first reported conversation between the two foreign ministers since 1 March, when Kuleba asked Beijing to use its ties with Moscow to stop the Russian invasion, according to Ukraine’s foreign ministry.

“Wars end eventually. The key is how to reflect on the pain, to maintain lasting security in Europe and establish a balanced, effective and sustainable European security mechanism,” Wang said, according to the ministry.

China stands ready to play a constructive role in this regard in an objective position.

Kuleba tweeted that he was “grateful’ to Wang Yi for “solidarity with civilian victims.

A close ally of Moscow, China has refused to condemn Russia’s actions in Ukraine or to term it an “invasion”.

But Beijing at the same time has expressed “unwavering support” for Ukraine’s sovereignty. It has also called for peace and has said it is ready to help end the war through diplomacy.

US President Joe Biden has called for Russian President Vladimir Putin to be tried for war crimes as evidence emerges of atrocities allegedly committed by Russian forces in Ukraine.

There is mounting international anger over the alleged killing of civilians in Bucha, a town near the capital Kyiv.

“This guy is brutal,” Mr Biden said of the Russian leader, adding that he believes Mr Putin “is a war criminal.

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