Wed, 06 July 2022
The Daily Ittefaq

US and Russia clash over Ukraine at UN meeting

Update : 01 Feb 2022, 09:34

The standoff between Russia and the West over Ukraine sparked a stormy debate Monday. The Russian and U.S. ambassadors traded barbs over Ukraine, with Russia accusing Washington of "whipping up" tensions and the U.S. warning of an "urgent and dangerous" situation in UN Security Council meeting. 

Russia on Monday failed to stop the US-requested council meeting on the build-up, allowing for a public face-off over what the US and other nations called a threat to international peace and security.

The council is unable to take any action beyond talking about the situation as Russia is one of the council's five veto powers, along with the US, China, France and Britain.

"The threats of aggression on the border of Ukraine ... is provocative. Our recognition of the facts on the ground is not provocative," US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the 15-member council.

"The provocation's from Russia, not from us or other members of this council," she said, echoing a central argument from the Washington as US-Russia relations have hit a new low.

Thomas-Greenfield accused Russia of having more than 100,000 troops on Ukraine's borders with Russia and Belarus preparing "to conduct offensive action into Ukraine".

She said that Moscow was planning to increase its force deployed in neighbouring Belarus, on Ukraine's northern border, to 30,000.

Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said there was "no proof" Moscow was planning military action against Ukraine and that Russia had consistently rejected such accusations.

Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, tweeted that he hoped other members of the Security Council “will not support this clear press stunt”.

Moscow wants the West to promise Ukraine will never join the Nato alliance - in which members promise to come to another's aid in the event of an armed attack - but the US has rejected that demand.

Assuming the meeting continues, the council will first hear a briefing from a senior UN official, followed by statements from its 15 members, including Russia, the United States and European members France, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Albania. According to the rules of the council, Ukraine will also speak.

Chinese UN Ambassador Zhang Jun said Beijing backed Moscow in its opposition to a council meeting.

“Both parties have shown their willingness to continue their negotiations,” he told several reporters on Friday. “Let them settle differences through dialogue, through negotiation.”

“Russia has made it clear that it has no intention of having a war” and the Security Council should “help de-escalate the situation instead of adding fuel to the fire”, said Zhang.

Geraldine Byrne Nason, Ireland’s ambassador to the UN, said her country wanted calm to prevail.

“We want to see de-escalation, diplomacy and dialogue,” she added.

On Sunday, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Menendez said that in the event of an attack, lawmakers want Russia to face “the mother of all sanctions.” This includes actions against Russian banks that could severely undermine the Russian economy and increased lethal aid to the Ukrainian military.

The sanctions under consideration would apparently be much harsher than those imposed after Russia annexed Crimea to Ukraine in 2014. These sanctions have been considered ineffective.

Menendez also raised the prospect of imposing certain punishments preemptively, before any invasion.

More on this topic

Drought emergency declared in northern Italy

12 bodies found after South China Sea typhoon shipwreck

Thousands told to evacuate before 'life-threatening' Sydney flood

Two gunmen killed as Afghan clerics meet to rubber-stamp Taliban rule

More on this topic

Zelenskyy urges action in U.N. address, Russia calls it 'PR campaign' for weapons

46 migrants found dead in truck in Texas

At least 16 killed in missile strike on crowded Ukrainian mall

Russians 'fully occupy' Severodonetsk, shift focus to Lysychansk