(CNN) Western diplomats criticized Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov For his unjustified attack on Ukraine During a face-to-face session hosted by Moscow’s chief diplomat V.I United Nations Security Council on monday.
Lavrov was in charge of the meeting, which was titled “Maintenance of International Peace and Security,” because Russia currently holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council. The last time Russia chaired the Security Council was in February 2022, when it launched its invasion of Ukraine.
The UN ambassadors of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland used their speeches at the meeting to condemn the Russian invasion. The three women – American Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Britain’s Barbara Woodward and Switzerland’s Pascal Bereswil – expressed strong and direct criticism of Russia and Lavrov, sometimes looking directly at the senior Russian diplomat.
“Our hypocritical advocate today, Russia, has invaded its neighbour, Ukraine, and struck at the very heart of the United Nations Charter. This illegal, unjustified and unnecessary war is in direct contradiction to our most common principle – that war of aggression and the occupation of territory is a war of aggression and occupation of territory,” said Thomas Greenfield.
“As we sit here, this aggression continues. And as we sit here, Russian forces continue to kill and injure civilians. As we sit here, Russian forces are destroying Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. And as we sit here, we prepare ourselves for the next Bucha, next Mariupol, next Kherson, war crime.” The next, the next atrocity.”
Opening the session, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned Russia’s actions.
“The Russian invasion of Ukraine, which violates the UN Charter and international law, is causing massive suffering and destruction to the country and its people and is increasing the global economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. next to Lavrov.
Russian diplomats have been largely cut off from various international conferences since Moscow launched its all-out invasion of Ukraine last year. However, the leadership of the Security Council, the UN’s most powerful body, rotates alphabetically among the 15 member states. Five countries – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – have permanent seats on the council. The remaining ten members are elected for two-year terms by the United Nations General Assembly.
Russia assumed the presidency on April 1, an event that many diplomats called an “April Fool’s joke”.
He attended the meeting on Monday Elizabeth Whelan His brother, Paul Whelan, has been held in Russia for more than four years. The United States considers Whelan unjustly held. The US government was unable to secure Whelan’s release last year when it repatriated two Americans the US said were being wrongfully detained in Russia – Trevor Reid in April and Brittney Grenier in December.
European Union countries issued a joint statement before the meeting condemning Russia’s actions in Ukraine and criticizing Lavrov’s appearance at the meeting.
Olaf Skog, the European Union’s representative to the United Nations, said: “Russia is trying to portray itself as a defender of the UN Charter and multilateralism. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s ridiculous.” “We all know that while Russia destroys, we build. And while they violate, we protect.”
In his opening remarks, Lavrov launched a series of baseless accusations against Ukraine and its Western allies, blaming them for the conflict.
“As was the case during the Cold War, we have reached a dangerous threshold, perhaps even more dangerous,” Lavrov said, accusing “the United States and its allies” of “abandoning diplomacy and demanding clarification of relations on the battlefield.”
Lavrov has repeatedly called the Ukrainian government “putschists” and the “Nazi Kiev regime,” an unfounded claim repeatedly repeated by Russia to justify its illegal invasion of the country. Lavrov also criticized Western countries for not recognizing Ukraine’s Crimea as Russian territory, despite “a referendum being held there”.
Russia annexed Crimea by force in 2014 after holding a sham referendum there. Ukraine and its Western allies consider the area to be occupied Ukrainian territory. The United Nations overwhelmingly rejected the referendum as illegitimate and the annexation as illegal.