The United States and allied countries denounced Russia on Monday at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on the Ukraine crisis, calling Moscow’s recognition of two breakaway regions and the deployment of Russian troops in those of blatant disregard for international law which risks war.
The unusual late-night Council meeting, requested by Ukraine, quickly turned into a diplomatic rebuke from Russia and actions announced earlier Monday by President Vladimir V. Putin.
“Russia’s clear attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is unprovoked,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, told fellow diplomats. Ridiculously ridiculing Mr Putin’s claim that Russian forces had been deployed as peacekeepers, she said: “That is nonsense. We know what they really are.
Ms Thomas-Greenfield said Mr Putin was “testing our international system, he was testing our resolve and seeing how far he could push us all”, and she called his attempt to recreate the Russian empire an antiquated throwback.
“Putin wants the world to time travel. In an era before the United Nations. At a time when empires ruled the world,” she said. “But the rest of the world has moved on. We are not in 1919. We are in 2022.”
Representatives of France and Great Britain issued similar denunciations. “Russia is choosing the path of confrontation,” said French Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière. British Ambassador Barbara Woodward said: “Russia has brought us to the brink. We urge Russia to step back.
Earlier on Monday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, who said he believed the crisis would be resolved without military force, sharply criticized Russian actions.
“The Secretary-General considers the decision of the Russian Federation to be a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and inconsistent with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations,” Guterres said in a statement.
Even China, which often sides with Russia in Security Council disputes, made an unusually terse comment that suggested unease with Russian actions over Ukraine. Ambassador Zhang Jun said “all parties concerned should exercise restraint and avoid any action that could fuel tensions.”
Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia of Russia, who is chairman of the council for February and was forced to schedule the meeting, flatly rejected any criticism, an indication that diplomacy over the crisis was going nowhere.
He called his country’s actions a benevolent aid to Russian-speaking residents of the Donetsk and Lukansk regions, known as Donbass, who have been engaged in a low-level war with Ukraine since 2014. described as victims of Ukraine. attacks and subterfuges which violate the Minsk agreements which aimed to put an end to this conflict.
“We remain open to diplomacy,” Mr. Nebenzia said. “However, allowing further bloodshed in the Donbass is something we are not prepared to do.”
He said the United States and its allies, “instead of forcing Kiev to implement its obligation, encouraged Ukraine” and “sparked unfounded panic over an alleged imminent invasion of Ukraine”. .
The meeting was adjourned after 90 minutes, with no action taken. But Ms Thomas-Greenfield later said council members had ‘sent a unified message – that Russia should not go to war’.
The meeting request was announced hours earlier by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. Ukraine is not a member of the Council.
The request came as Russian President Putin recognized the two breakaway enclaves in eastern Ukraine, Lugansk and Donetsk, which could help lay the groundwork for Russian military forces to pour into Ukrainian territory.
“I have formally requested UNSC Member States to immediately hold consultations under Article 6 of the Budapest Memorandum to discuss urgent actions aimed at de-escalation, as well as practical measures to ensure Ukraine’s security. “, Mr. Kuleba wrote in a statement. Posting on Twitter.
The Budapest memorandum refers to a 1994 agreement under which Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan, former republics of the collapsed Soviet Union, gave up their stockpiles of wartime Russian nuclear weapons cold and acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in exchange for security guarantees. However, the effectiveness of the agreement has long been questioned. Ukraine and Western countries have said that Russia seriously violated the agreement in 2014 by seizing Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.
Mr. Guterres’ spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, told reporters on Monday that the United Nations was authorizing the “temporary relocation” of some non-essential staff and dependents to Ukraine, where the organization has about 1,500 employees, mostly of Ukrainian nationality, and nearly 1,200 dependents. Of the employees, he said, about 100 are in the two breakaway eastern regions.