Russia’s foreign minister was absent from the room as his country faced widespread rebuke from the United States and others over its war in Ukraine at the United Nations Security Council meeting, where US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned fellow diplomats “the same international order we have gathered here to support is being shredded before our eyes.”
“We cannot – will not allow – President Putin to get away with it,” Blinken said in remarks at Thursday’s meeting during the high-level week of the United Nations General Assembly.
The meeting came amid escalatory measures by Moscow, including an order to mobilize hundreds of thousands of troops and planned “mock referendums” in the Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine.
“President Putin’s choice this week, as most of the world gathers at the United Nations, to light the fire he started shows his total disdain for the UN Charter, the UN General Assembly, and this Council,” Blinken said. .
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was absent from the hall for all but his own, in which he rejected widespread international condemnation and again blamed Kyiv for the invasion of Moscow. Several officials noted that the senior Russian diplomat left the room because he did not want to hear the condemnations.
A senior US State Department official told reporters Thursday that “Russia did feel the hot breath of world public opinion” at the meeting.
I don’t think there was anyone in that room across the Security Council from (Chinese Foreign Minister) Wang Yi to Tony Blinken who gave Vladimir Putin or Lavrov an iota of relief. “Everyone said this war should end,” the official said.
The official noted that Lavrov “did not turn up until two minutes before his speech – he made one of his followers listen as far as they were listening – and then let you know within a minute and a half of the talk.”
They said that the Russian official who sat in the hall for most of the meeting – Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin – and his team “pretty much faced stones all the time”.
However, “there were faces of suspicion all over the table when he (Lavrov) started litigation in 2014 and called on the Ukrainians to Nazis and do the classic mirror image of Putin, accusing the rest of the world of everything Russia itself does, including atrocities and human rights abuses, I mean, It was just “Alice through the glass,” they said.
Blinken and others, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, have highlighted the atrocities unearthed in Ukraine, the global effects of the war on things like food security, and called on Russia to stop rattling nuclear swords.
The top US diplomat said Vladimir Putin’s threat to use Russia’s “all available weapons systems” “presents an even greater threat given Russia’s intention to annex large parts of Ukraine in the coming days.”
“When this is complete, we can expect President Putin to claim that any Ukrainian effort to liberate this land is an attack on the so-called Russian territory,” Blinkin explained. “This is from a country that joined in January of this year, here, the other permanent members of the Security Council in signing a statement affirming, and I quote, ‘Nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought. “Another example of how Russia is violating the commitments it made before this body, and another reason why Russia is not taking her words seriously today.”
“Every member of the Council must send a clear message that these reckless nuclear threats must stop immediately,” he said.
Blinken said Russia’s efforts to annex more Ukrainian territory – which US officials say is the expected next step in the wake of referendums called this week by the Russian-backed leaders of the so-called Donetsk, Luhansk People’s Republics, Zaporizhia and Kherson – are “another dangerous escalation and the repudiation of diplomacy”.
“It’s even more concerning when combined with the filtering operations that Russian forces are carrying out across the parts of Ukraine they control,” Blinken said. It is a diabolical strategy: violently uprooting hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians; the bus in the Russians to replace them; A call to vote and rig the results to show near-unanimous support for accession to the Russian Federation. Exit directly from the playbook of Crimea. ”
He again called for accountability for the crimes that were revealed in the formerly Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine such as Bucha, Irpin and Izyum, where mass graves were discovered and survivors recounted acts of torture.
“This is not the work of rogue units. They fit a clear pattern across the territory controlled by Russian forces,” Blinken said. “This is one of the many reasons why we support a range of national and international efforts to collect and examine the mounting evidence of war crimes in Ukraine.”
Blinken reiterated that the United States would continue to support Ukraine and called on others to do the same.
President Putin makes his decision. Now it is up to all our countries to make our country. He told President Putin to stop the terror he had started. Tell him to stop putting his interests above those of the rest of the world, including his own people. Tell him to stop degrading this council and everything it represents,” Blinken said.
One man chose this war. And one man can finish it. Because if Russia stops fighting, the war will end. If Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine will end.”
This story has been updated with additional details.