United Nations: Slugfest in New York: Ukraine meets Russia

United Nations
Exchange of blows in New York: Ukraine meets Russia

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (r) speaks at the UN Security Council in New York on the situation in Ukraine.  Photo: Mary Altaf

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (r) speaks at the UN Security Council in New York on the situation in Ukraine. photo

© Mary Altaffer/AP/dpa

Foreign Ministers Kuleba and Lavrov in the same room: The UN Security Council is busy. While one side condemns Putin's war, the other hits back with a reality of its own.

Ukraine and Western partners have exchanged heated blows with Russia in the United Nations Security Council. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov met on Thursday for the first time since the war began U.N.panel in New York.

Kuleba accused Moscow of serious war crimes and warned Russia couldn't win the war. The chief diplomats of the USA, Germany and other western countries made similar statements. Lavrov, in turn, made serious allegations against Ukraine, accusing the West of interfering directly in the war by supplying arms and other support to Kyiv.

Russia mobilizes 300,000 reservists

Russia invaded the neighboring country at the end of February. Parallel to the UN General Assembly, the Russian president Vladimir Putin announced in the past few days that he would intensify his actions. For example, he wants to have a vote on joining Russia in several occupied Ukrainian territories, which is internationally regarded as contrary to international law. He also announced the mobilization of 300,000 reservists and said that Russia would "use all available means" to protect itself - which was understood as a threat of nuclear weapons.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for such "reckless nuclear threats" to stop immediately. The fact that Putin voted this week "to further fuel the fire he started" shows his utter contempt for the United Nations. "The international order that we are gathered here to uphold is being shattered before our eyes. We cannot and will not allow President Putin to get away with it."

Guterres warns of 'cycle of terror and bloodshed'

UN Secretary-General António Guterres called the nuclear threats unacceptable. The planned referendums in the east of the Ukraine he saw as a possible breach of international law. The war is moving "further steps away from any prospect of peace - and toward an endless cycle of horror and bloodshed," he lamented.

Lavrov only partially attended the eagerly awaited meeting. He only appeared for his own speech, but then disappeared again immediately and was represented for the rest of the time by his deputy Sergei Wershinin. The Ukrainian Kuleba reacted with mockery and said: "I also noticed today that Russian diplomats are fleeing just like Russian soldiers."

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Moscow was waging a war with war crimes, torture and rape. Addressing Russia, she said: "This is a war you will not win." Kuleba interpreted the partial mobilization of the Russian army in the face of recent military setbacks for Moscow as an admission of defeat. Addressing Russia, he said: "You can draft 300,000 or 500,000 people, but you will never win this war."

China and India insist on dialogue

Several other Western states also strongly condemned Russia's actions at the meeting. The chief diplomats of China and India called for negotiations and dialogue - but without taking a clear stance against Russia.

Lavrov, in turn, defended his country's war and for his part raised serious allegations against Kyiv - and the West. "We have no doubt that Ukraine has become a totally totalitarian Nazi-like state, where the norms of international humanitarian law are flouted," he said. The decision to launch a "special military operation" against Ukraine was unavoidable. The country is a threat to Russia's security. "And I can assure you that we will never accept this," he said.


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