Lavrov criticized for Russia’s war in Ukraine at UN


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov listens to UN Secretary-General António Guterres during a Security Council meeting at the United Nations headquarters on April 24, 2023 in New York.

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images News | Getty Images

UNITED NATIONS – The United States and its Western allies took turns criticizing Russia for its ongoing war in Ukraine and accusing Moscow of flouting the Charter of the United Nations, during a lengthy meeting of the Security Council chaired by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Lavrov, who flew from Moscow to New York to chair the Security Council, defended his country’s “special military operation” in Ukraine in his opening address to the international forum. He also reiterated claims that kyiv is the real aggressor.

Lavrov then blamed the United States for exacerbating geopolitical challenges around the world, including tensions between China and Taiwan.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, laid the blame squarely on Russia during her opening speech to the 15-member group.

“Our hypocritical organizer today, Russia, invaded its neighbor Ukraine and struck at the heart of the United Nations Charter,” Thomas-Greenfield said, referring to the UN’s founding document which commits to preserve sovereignty, peace, justice and the prevention of war.

“This illegal, unprovoked and unnecessary war goes directly against our most sacred principle: that a war of aggression and territorial conquest is never, ever acceptable,” she said. “Today it is Ukraine, but tomorrow it could be another country, another small nation being invaded by its bigger neighbour,” she added.

In blunt remarks to Lavrov, Thomas-Greenfield reiterated calls for the immediate release of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and former US Marine Paul Whelan, whose sister attended the meeting.

“I want Minister Lavrov to look her in the eye and see her suffer. I want you to see what it’s like to miss your brother for four years. To know that he’s locked up, in a Russian penal colony, just because you want to use him for your own purposes,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

Elizabeth Whelan, Paul Whelan’s sister, stands as she is recognized by United States Representative to United Nations Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield during a Security Council meeting at United Nations Headquarters United on April 24, 2023 in New York.

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who sat next to Lavrov, criticized Russia’s war, saying it violated the UN Charter and international law.

The conflict, he said, was “causing massive suffering and devastation to the country and its people and adding to the global economic dislocation unleashed by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

He warned that tensions between major world powers were at a “historic high”.

Guterres also called for the expansion of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a UN-backed agreement that established a humanitarian sea corridor for Ukrainian agricultural products.

The agreement allowed more than 25 million metric tons of grain and foodstuffs to leave Ukrainian ports for destinations around the world. Russia has previously said it could not renew the deal, which expires in mid-May.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres speaks during a meeting of the Security Council at UN headquarters on April 24, 2023 in New York.

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images News | Getty Images

British Ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine had brought “unimaginable suffering to this country while trampling on the Charter of the United Nations”.

“Thousands of Ukrainians have been killed and millions have been displaced,” she said, adding that billions of people around the world are feeling the brunt of rising energy prices and insecurity. food due to the ongoing conflict in the Kremlin.

She added that the war had also triggered “an absolute disaster for Russia as well”.

The Japanese envoy also castigated Moscow’s war and demanded an immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine.

“It is an irony, even a tragedy, that the Russian Federation, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, continues its unilateral aggression against Ukraine while organizing an open debate on effective multilateralism through defense principle of the Charter of the United Nations,” said Ishikane Kimihiro, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations.

“Russia’s continued and unprovoked aggression is nothing but outright disregard for the principle of the UN Charter,” he added.

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