Several members of the U.N. Security Council on Monday condemned Russia’s moves to escalate its crisis with Ukraine in an emergency meeting of the council after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine and deployed Russian troops to them in defiance of international law.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations warned that Putin’s recognition of separatist regions in Ukraine was an attempt to create a “pretext for a further invasion of Ukraine” and termed Russia’s so-called peacekeeping operation in the region as “nonsense.”
U.K. representative Barbara Woodward said that her country will announce a set of new sanctions against Russia adding that there will be “severe economic consequences” to Russia’s actions.
Ukrainian ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya, who requested the emergency meeting, delivered a defiant statement that Ukraine was not “afraid of anything or anyone” and it will not give away “anything to anyone.”
Despite its growing closeness with Russia, China delivered a terse statement at the meeting saying that “all parties concerned must exercise restraint and avoid any action that may fuel tensions.”
Kenyan Ambassador Martin Kimani criticized Russia’s actions, calling it part of a trend of powerful nations breaching international laws, adding “multilateralism lies on its deathbed tonight.”
India’s representative TS Tirumurti was more guarded in his comments calling for “restraint” and “constructive diplomacy” but stopped short of outright condemning Russia’s actions.
Russia’s ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya dismissed the criticism, calling it “emotional.” He added: “Now, it’s important to focus on how to avoid war. And how to force Ukraine to stop the shelling and provocations against Donetsk and Luhansk.” Nebenzya also accused the U.S. and its allies of “cramming weapons” into Ukraine and said that Russia will not allow a “bloodbath” to take place in the Donbas region.
By Siladitya Ray, Forbes Staff