VLADIMIR Putin is set to be hit with a wave of new sanctions as Western nations react to reports of war crimes in Ukraine.

The UK, US and European Union are imposing a further package of economic measures targeting Kremlin allies and the industries funding the war, while Nato foreign ministers will also consider how to support Ukraine’s resistance to Moscow’s forces.

In other key developments:

  • UK defence chiefs say the humanitarian catastrophe in eastern Ukraine is worsening.
  • US President Joe Biden has approved a $100 million (£76 million) transfer of Javelin anti-armour missiles to Ukraine.
  • The Kremlin has claimed war crime allegations were "fake news".
  • Police in the Romanian capital say a car has crashed into the gate of the Russian embassy, bursting into flames and killing the driver.

The White House has indicated the US sanctions package will target officials and their family members – with reports suggesting Putin’s daughters Maria Vorontsova, 36, and Katerina Tikhonova, 35 will be hit by American and EU measures – as well as Russian banks and state-owned enterprises.

The European Commission has proposed a ban on coal imports from Russia and a full transaction ban on four key Russian banks as part of its fifth sanctions package In London, a Foreign Office source said announcements would also be coming from the UK side.

On Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said economic actions so far were having a “crippling impact” and “pushing the Russian economy back into the Soviet era”.

She said sanctions had frozen more than $350 billion (£266bn) of “Putin’s war chest”, rendering unavailable over 60% of the regime’s $604bn(£459bn) of foreign currency reserves.

She will join Nato counterparts in Brussels on Wednesday ahead of Thursday’s full meeting of the alliance’s foreign ministers.

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The meeting comes as British defence intelligence warned of a humanitarian catastrophe in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, which has been besieged and bombarded by Russian forces.

“The humanitarian situation in the city is worsening,” the Ministry of Defence said.

“Most of the 160,000 remaining residents have no light, communication, medicine, heat or water.

“Russian forces have prevented humanitarian access, likely to pressure defenders to surrender.”

The National: A child stands among the wreckage in Mariupol A child stands among the wreckage in Mariupol

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said an image of a Ukrainian mother who scrawled contact details on her two-year-old daughter’s back in case she and the rest of the family are killed in the conflict “strengthens the resolve for all of us”.

“What we are seeing unfolding now in Ukraine is absolutely appalling,” he told Sky News.

“These atrocities we are now sadly seeing almost daily on our TV screens, and the image you just talked of, when I first saw that image, I think yesterday, you know, it could have been my daughter, it could be anyone’s daughter, their son, just to think that’s what parents are having to do in Ukraine right now because (of) the choice that Vladimir Putin has made.”

Boris Johnson issued a direct appeal to the Russian people to reject President Putin’s war in Ukraine, which he called a “stain” on their country’s honour.

In a video message posted online, the Prime Minister urged Russians to download VPNs to enable them to circumvent the Kremlin’s media controls and see for themselves the atrocities being committed in their name.

Speaking in Russian, Johnson told people in Putin’s country: “Your president stands accused of committing war crimes. But I cannot believe he’s acting in your name”.

READ MORE: Ukrainian woman in ‘middle of a war zone’ is stranded with no visa

His intervention came after Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, used a dramatic address to the United Nations Security Council to accuse the Russians of the “most terrible war crimes” since the Second World War.

The Ukrainian leader called for the creation of a special tribunal along the lines of the Nuremberg tribunals, used to try leading Nazis, to bring those responsible to justice.

The Kremlin responded by claiming images of civilians said to have been killed by Russian soldiers in the town of Bucha were “fake news” having been staged by the Ukrainians themselves.

However, the UK Ministry of Defence said analysis of satellite imagery from March 21 – when the town was still occupied by the Russians – showed at least eight bodies lying in a street.

US President Joe Biden has approved a $100m (£76 million) transfer of Javelin anti-armour missiles to Ukraine.

The transfer brings the total of US military assistance for Ukraine to $2.4bn (£1.8bn) since Biden took office in, January 2021.

The White House announced late on Tuesday that Biden approved the assistance, which is funded as part of a broader $13.6bn (£10.4bn) in aid for Ukraine approved by Congress last month after Russia’s invasion.

An administration official confirmed anonymously that it was for a transfer of the Javelin missiles, which have been requested by the Ukrainian military to combat Russian armour.

Meanwhile, police in the Romanian capital say a car has crashed into the gate of the Russian embassy, bursting into flames and killing the driver.

Police in Bucharest say the sedan rammed into the gate at about 6am (4am London) on Wednesday but did not enter the embassy compound.