UN General Assembly Security Council
The United Nations Security Council meets on the situation in Ukraine, on Thursday. Photo: AP/Mary Altaffer
world

U.S., Russia square off at U.N. over Ukraine

39 Comments
By JENNIFER PELTZ and MATTHEW LEE

The United States called on other nations to tell Russia to stop making nuclear threats and end “the horror” of its war in Ukraine as all three countries' top diplomats spoke — but didn't quite meet — at a high-profile U.N. Security Council meeting Thursday.

Held alongside the annual U.N. General Assembly gathering of world leaders, the session followed a striking development in the war this week: Russia called up a portion of its reserves for the first time since World War II. At the same time, President Vladimir Putin said his nuclear-armed country will “use all means available to us” to defend itself if its territory is threatened.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken saw Putin's remark as particularly menacing given plans for referendums in Russian-controlled parts of eastern and southern Ukraine on whether to become part of Russia.

Western nations have condemned those votes as illegitimate and nonbinding. But, in their wake, Moscow might then see any Ukrainian attempt to retake those areas as an attack on “Russian territory,” Blinken warned.

“Every council member should send a clear message that these reckless nuclear threats must stop immediately,” he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov didn't mention his country's nuclear capacity or the new troop mobilization during his own remarks at the council meeting, which France called to discuss accountability for alleged abuses and atrocities during the nearly seven-month-long war.

Instead, Lavrov repeated his country’s frequent claims that Kyiv has long oppressed Russian speakers in Ukraine’s east — one of the explanations Moscow has offered for the invasion — and that Western support for Ukraine is a menace to Russia.

“What's particularly cynical is the position of states that are pumping Ukraine full of weapons and training their soldiers," he said, maintaining that their goal is to prolong fighting “to wear down and weaken Russia.”

“That policy means the direct involvement of the West in the conflict,” said Lavrov. He added that Ukraine had become “an anti-Russia staging ground to create threats against Russian security” and his country wouldn't accept it.

The Security Council has held dozens of contentious meetings on Ukraine since the war began in February, but Thursday’s session had special stature.

“That President Putin picked this week, as most of the world gathers at the United Nations, to add fuel to the fire he started shows his utter contempt and disdain for the U.N. Charter, the U.N. General Assembly and this council," Blinken told foreign ministers around the council's famous horseshoe-shaped table.

“Tell President Putin to stop the horror he started. Tell President Putin to stop the horror he started,” Blinken added.

Regardless, no one expects the council to act against Russia, since Moscow has veto power as a permanent member.

But the meeting was still a rare moment for top diplomats from Ukraine and Russia to appear in the same room — made all the more extraordinary for the fact that Lavrov is under U.S. sanctions.

In a sign of the charged atmosphere, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba apparently objected as council staffers prepared to put a placard marking Ukraine’s seat next to Russia’s. The placard was ultimately moved to another spot.

Ahead of the meeting, Kuleba wryly told reporters that he planned to keep a “social distance” from Lavrov. But it turned out he didn't have to: The Russian appeared only just before speaking and left right after, prompting Kuleba to quip later in his own speech that "Russian diplomats flee almost as quickly as Russian soldiers.”

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said he thought Lavrov didn't care to hear “the collective condemnation of this council.”

In another undiplomatic exchange, Lavrov accused the U.S. and allies of covering up alleged misdeeds by Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy’s government on the rationale that “he’s a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.” Kuleba later chided Russia for the “inappropriate slang.”

Blinken argued that Russia should face further censure and isolation for its invasion, pressing other countries to join in Washington's forceful condemnations of the conflict. He cited the discovery of mass graves in Ukraine and repeated allegations from Ukrainians that they were tortured by Russian soldiers, while suggesting that more could come.

The International Criminal Court opened an investigation in March into possible crimes amid the war and sent teams to gather evidence. Prosecutor Karim Khan told the council Thursday that he’s dispatching more ICC staffers next week to look into allegations emerging from eastern Ukraine.

Khan hasn’t yet announced any charges linked to the conflict, but he reiterated to the council that he believes there are reasonable grounds to think that crimes have been committed.

“The picture that I’ve seen so far is troubling indeed,” he said.

Ukraine also wants a special tribunal to be created to prosecute alleged war crimes.

The meeting came less than a week after Ukraine's Zelenskyy said Friday announced the discovery of a mass burial site near a northeastern city, Izium, that had recently been recaptured from Russian forces. Zelenskyy said investigators found evidence that some of the dead were tortured.

The discovery prompted France to send more investigators to join others who have been in Ukraine since hundreds of civilians were found dead in another city, Bucha, after a Russian withdrawal in late March, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna told the council.

There are “so many violations of the laws of war and so many actions for which Russia must be held accountable," she said.

Other council members also called for accountability, but in varying tones.

“Investigations into violations of international humanitarian law should be objective and fair, based on fair facts, rather than an assumption of guilt, and without being politicized,” said Foreign Minister Wang Yi of China, which has maintained strong ties with Russia.

Associated Press photographer Mary Altaffer contributed.

© Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.


39 Comments

Comments have been disabled You can no longer respond to this thread.

President Vladimir Putin said his nuclear-armed country will “use all means available to us” to defend itself if its territory is threatened.

MadBadVlad should ride his horse to the front lines, shirtless, that should inspire his troops.

9 ( +18 / -9 )

What's particularly cynical is the position of states that are pumping Ukraine full of weapons and training their soldiers," 

what’s particularly hypocritical is that Russia did exactly the same with North Korea & north Vietnam

8 ( +16 / -8 )

It's sad but it's a fact that neither Putin or Biden has intent or capability to de-escalate this horrible conflict that's affecting the whole world through sheer sufferings by the Ukrainian people, unwilling Russian Soldiers or people of the west through inflation and people on the subcontinent through hunger.

The only stakeholder that's capable of fixing the mess are Russian strongmen who can oust Putin.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

*will “use all means available to us” to defend itself *if its territory is threatened.

But this exactly what the Russian As..les did!!!

They did not even threaten the Ukraine, they even invade the Ukraine, killing innocent people including women and children, raping young Girls, shooting at a nuclear plant, torturing people, mass-bodie graves....and so on...the list of their horrible insane behaviour of the Russian insane mass murdering Mob is endless.

And additional, the Russians are threatening the rest of the world with their insane behaviour.

And the whole world should also "use all means available to us" to defend itself...

But the rest of the world is much more clever than these Russian As...les, and they know how to us "their weapons" against Russia in a clever way.

Russia....if you don't change your path, your end is near!

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Russia's plan for winning in eastern Ukraine is to kill all the Ukrainians there, then have an election. However, most Ukrainians left their homes in that region, so of course only Pro- Russian people remain, plus the people who "upgraded" their homes and lives by stealing the homes of those who fled.

Nobody was threatening Russia. Nobody was planning to invade. Little man-syndrome at work there with Putin.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

@basCan’t argue that point.

Once again parroting the Kremlin line.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

Bass - actually you can. 14k civilians were not killed. This oft-cited number by pro-Russians is for the total amount killed on both sides of the conflict. Most of these were military on both sides. Facts, not feelings!

7 ( +14 / -7 )

I watched live Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov make his speech. I was amazed by his content and somewhat shocked by the propaganda.

 Ukraine shelling for 8 years the Russian-speaking areas of the Donbas with the loss of more than 14,000 civilian lives.

April 12, 2014. 

The Russia’s invasion began

FSB officer Igor Girkin (Strelkov), crossed the Ukrainian border with a detachment of Russian special forces and seized the towns of Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, and Druzhkivka. Local criminals and Russian proxies in Donetsk and Luhansk were armed and turned into a militia (considered terrorists by Ukrainian and international law). 

July 17, 2014.

Passenger flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down by a Russian missile killing all 298 people (citizens of the Netherlands, Malaysia, and 16 other countries).

https://war.ukraine.ua/history-and-politics/8-years-of-war-in-donbas/

5 ( +12 / -7 )

During Russia's 2014-2021 military operations against Ukraine, 14,500 people died in the Donbas war. Of that 14,000, 3,404 were civilians, 4,400 were Ukrainian servicemen and 6,500 were Russian militants. The figure Putin operates with, is the total number of casualties incurred in the Donbas war by both sides.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Once again parroting the Kremlin line.

No, just voicing the obvious you don’t have to be sympathetic to Russia to see how old this is backfiring

-12 ( +6 / -18 )

Mr. Putin demonstrates that having a homicidal maniac in charge of the state is not a good idea.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

Russia, i.e. Putin again using threats, blackmailing, promising more terror.

A terror regime with a dictator at the top.

Now recruiting minorities to provide more cannon fodder.

And those Russians who don't want to fight are trying to get flights to other countries.

Good luck with that! Ticket fees have increased already.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

No, just voicing the obvious you don’t have to be sympathetic to Russia to see how old this is backfiring

Yes, you absolutely do. None of that in any way justifies Russia invading Ukraine, and yet that is how pro-invasion folks justify invading Ukraine.

Claiming, "can't argue with that," gives credibility to pro-invasion folks that don't deserve it.

6 ( +13 / -7 )

let me be short and frank.

i am against war.i am against any war.regardless what country have ignited it and what country is in role of agressor.war is very bad and consequences are very horrible but same time time is good business for a few.as former citizen of Yugoslavia I can confirm by my own experience.i remember very well and will never forget.

now go back to topic.conflict in UA did not "just happen" and now we are talking just about consequences and using one sided narratives.every conflict have a reason and I am sure this one is no different.

if we are in position of judges to judge bad bad Russia lets think from point one what it was reason for this action and why all of this have happened.one more thing-as all of western leaders have full mouth of peace talk-why no one from them made any effort to stop this conflict and offer help and assistance for peace talk-but instead of this just keep sending guns to UA side?

now lets discuss if ready.with open minds.take in consideration situation there as whole.i am pretty sure that real picture may be "slightly" different...

-16 ( +4 / -20 )

Out of the two countries, only one is the invader and aggressor. Putin is Darth InVader.

9 ( +14 / -5 )

and why all of this have happened

let me guess. 8 years, 14,000 something something?

8 ( +11 / -3 )

i am against war.i am against any war.

Not true, you're clearly trying to defend the Russian invasion.

now go back to topic.conflict in UA did not "just happen" and now we are talking just about consequences 

You're right it didn't just happen. Putin spent years stoking tension, funding and training separatists in eastern Ukraine, so that the only "choice" Russia had was to invade.

now lets discuss if ready.with open minds.take in consideration situation there as whole.i am pretty sure that real picture may be "slightly" different...

Let's. But considering your dismissive attitude towards criticism of Russia's imperialist invasion, it hardly seems you're interested in keeping an "open mind."

6 ( +12 / -6 )

let me be short and frank.

i am against war.i am against any war.

That is short and frank.

The next 4 paragraphs of your ‘short and frank’ post contradict your initial sentence.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Yugoslavia eh - At least we now know why you have such a hatred of the west

9 ( +11 / -2 )

now lets discuss if ready.with open minds.take in consideration situation there as whole.i am pretty sure that real picture may be "slightly" different...

Well, here's the thing. One could say Hitler had his reasons. Japan had her reasons to attack Pearl Harbor.

There are always ways to narrate any situation, and if you side with being open with Putin on this one, it's difficult to have the information available on Russian aggression in annexing Crimea, and the war on Ukraine to not make the declaration that this is Putin's doing, not Ukraine's actions being the reason it's happening.

one more thing-as all of western leaders have full mouth of peace talk-why no one from them made any effort to stop this conflict and offer help and assistance for peace talk-but instead of this just keep sending guns to UA side?

You're kidding, right? Believe it that there have been attempts to communicate with Putin and Russia to stop this nonsensical attack on Ukraine by western leaders, of which he has ghosted.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Yugoslavia eh - At least we now know why you have such a hatred of the west

The President of Serbia stated that he has asked all the leaders of Western countries what the difference between the territorial integrity of Serbia and Ukraine is. He claims to have never gotten any kind of coherent answer.

Do you know what the answer is?

-12 ( +3 / -15 )

Do you know what the answer is?

Ask in a thread about Serbia. We're talking about the invasion of Ukraine thank you.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

Ditto. But that is what Putin cited is happening to the population of Donbass.

A good and valid point. That certainly legitimizes Russia's murdering 10s of 1000s of Ukrainians and stealing their land.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I stayed up late to watch this. Some episodic ex:

Lavrov shows up 1.5 hours late, gives his speech, leaves immediately.

Ukraine FM comments "I see Russian diplomats run away as fast as Russian soldiers." I lol-ed in my living room.

Chinese FM shows up, says nothing beyond vanilla milk toast for a good 90 seconds and leaves. So much for a partnership with no limits. In fact it was episodic in that Russia got no support from anyone at all.

Blinkin with the tag line of the debate: "If Russia stops fighting the war ends. If Ukraine stops fighting Ukraine ends."

20 points for Gryffindor, Anthony.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Russia should bringing back US,UK,AUS.....war crimes done in Iraq,Afghanistan, Syria.....those days when they spent their nation's efforts in torturing and murdering the people living there!

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

A good and valid point. That certainly legitimizes Russia's murdering 10s of 1000s of Ukrainians and stealing their land.

Don't you believe in democracy? Why can't the local people decide for themselves? After all, the people of Kosovo were fervently supported in doing just that by Western powers. Under the watchful eye of heavily armed NATO scum, I mean soldiers.

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

 China will at some point, probably within 30~40 years (large parts of the interior and west of China is still quite economically backward

Economically backward China is also capitalist. Private owners can buy and sell stakes in businesses there.

Don't you believe in democracy? 

I do, which is precisely why I oppose Russia sponsoring shame elections to legitimize their imperialist invasion.

Why can't the local people decide for themselves? 

Lol Who died and left Russia in charge of Ukraine?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Russia should bringing back US,UK,AUS.....war crimes done in Iraq,Afghanistan, Syria.....those days when they spent their nation's efforts in torturing and murdering the people living there!

Or maybe Russia could just stop murdering and torturing people itself?

9 ( +11 / -2 )

It is revealing that France insists that the investigation only cover events since Russia became involved, rather than events since the coup.

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

“What's particularly cynical is the position of states that are pumping Ukraine full of weapons and training their soldiers," he said, maintaining that their goal is to prolong fighting “to wear down and weaken Russia.”

Yes, this is exactly what the west has been doing, for the purpose of weakening Russia. The US planned it:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=oVjPh-8JMJQ

But they are failing miserably, the west (especially the EU) is weakening, Ukrainians are dying, and Russia is getting stronger.

-12 ( +4 / -16 )

"If Russia stops fighting the war ends. If Ukraine stops fighting Ukraine ends."

as good as that was, this was pure gold

I see Russian diplomats run away as fast as Russian soldiers.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

But that is what Putin cited is happening to the population of Donbass.

and we all know truthful his statements are don’t we

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Don't you believe in democracy? Why can't the local people decide for themselves? After all, the people of Kosovo were fervently supported in doing just that by Western powers. Under the watchful eye of heavily armed NATO scum, I mean soldiers.

I've read your comment, and am not seeing how they justify Russia invading a sovereign nation and murdering its innocent civilians? I think you'll need to explicitly make that point, as right now you're kind of rambling and your point isn't very clear.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

It was interesting just how isolated the Russians were. Like the sex-offender uncle at the family picnic - tolerated but not embraced much less engaged.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

and Russia is getting stronger.

Pure copium. If Russia were getting stronger, the Russian government wouldn't be complaining, and Lavrov wouldn't have run away with his tail tucked between his legs.

Russia is being weakened, and it'll only get worse as the Kleptocrats in charge send young Russian men to their deaths in Ukraine.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

and Russia is getting stronger.

ok, Russia has lost 10’s of 1000’s of men, 1000’s of pieces of military hardware, they have a huge brain drain problem, their economy is tanking, people are protesting & now most of their men are doing anything they can to escape being drafted.

now which part of Russia is getting stronger ?

7 ( +10 / -3 )

The Russian economy will take a decade to return to 2019 GDP.

So there's that talking point harpooned.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Firstly, the Russian economy is now forecast to only decline by 2% this year and rapidly recover next year. Almost certainly a smaller decline and much faster recovery than that which the all the major fascist powers and at least almost all the minor ones.

Thanks for keeping us up-to-date with the propaganda the Kremlin is putting out on their state TV.

It should make the families of Russia feel better about sending their children off to die in Ukraine. The ones that haven't managed to escape Russia yet that is.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken saw Putin's remark as particularly menacing given plans for referendums in Russian-controlled parts of eastern and southern Ukraine on whether to become part of Russia.

“That policy means the direct involvement of the West in the conflict,” said Lavrov. He added that Ukraine had become “an anti-Russia staging ground to create threats against Russian security” and his country wouldn't accept it.

These two paragraphs are linked, with frightening consequences, a threat to widen the war beyond the boarders of Ukraine and prise open political divisions within European states to force, leverage a climb down and so capitulate to Moscow's demands.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites