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Hillary Clinton has called on world leaders to put a full embargo on Russian oil and gas exports as the civilian death toll in Ukraine continues to rise.
Speaking at the Forbes 30/50 Summit in Abu Dhabi, the former US secretary of state said blocking the country’s energy exports would be the ultimate step in escalating the sanctions campaign imposed by the West.
Her call to action came on the same day that Russia threatened to cut off gas supplies to Europe over the war in Ukraine.
In response to a question about the climate crisis, Ms Clinton, who spoke via a live video link from the US, pushed for countries to target Russia’s most powerful weapon in their arsenal — its oil and gas.
“We have to look carefully at the decisions that are being made that sometimes might not look directly related to the climate crisis, but are, which is why I think, for a lot of reasons, we should be sanctioning the gas and oil coming out of Russia.
“It's going to affect their economy, but it's also going to send a message that we're not afraid to do that. And we need to do more to limit fossil fuels anyway.”
Russia-Ukraine war: in pictures
On receiving the International Women’s Day Lifetime Achievement Award by Forbes on Tuesday, Ms Clinton criticised Russia’s limited ceasefire that was announced on Monday.
Despite the promise that several humanitarian corridors could be opened for civilians to escape, Moscow suggested it would allow people to flee Ukrainian cities only if they went to Belarus or Russia.
“Quite frankly, [these were] corridors into Russia, which is not safe for Ukrainians,” she said.
“But there is a concerted effort by governments, particularly Nato governments, both to provide weapons and aid [to Ukraine].
“And there is a very large and growing charitable philanthropic effort also to provide humanitarian aid.”
Urging the world to support the brave Ukrainians fighting for their country, Ms Clinton said they were standing up for “their freedom, democracy and your rights”.
“This is not going to end quickly. Ukrainians have taken a stand and [this] is going to drag on, and it's going to be radically brutal on the part of Russians,” she said.
“I hope people will continue to pay attention to the news coverage. Understand Ukrainians are, I would argue, fighting for all of us, fighting for values that we hold dear.
“This is a very serious time for the world.”
International Women's Day
During the summit, Ms Clinton also honoured two women who have spent their lives fighting for women’s rights in Afghanistan.
Naheed Farid, a former member of the Afghanistan parliament and Zarifa Ghafari, a human-rights activist, were both awarded the Forbes 30/50 Changemaker Award.
At just 27, Ms Farid became Afghanistan’s youngest ever parliamentarian. In the 11 years she served in the assembly, she helped advance the cause for women’s rights and supported economic development projects.
“When the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan [last year], Naheed fled the country with her three young children, but she continues to use her voice to advocate for inclusive Afghan government, for girls' education and for the hard-fought rights for women and girls,” said Ms Clinton.
The second winner, Ms Ghafari, grew up under Taliban rule and was appointed mayor of Maidan Shahr, a city near Kabul, making her Afghanistan’s youngest mayor in history.
“From her first day in office she faced harassment, death threats and even the assassination of her father,” said Ms Clinton.
“Last week she returned to Afghanistan to continue advocating for women’s right at great personal risk.
“I know I speak for everyone in saying we honour her leadership and courage.
“At a time when women's rights and security around the world are under siege, both Naheed and Zarifa remain committed to advancing prosperity, opportunity and dignity for all women in Afghanistan and beyond.”