Lavrov defends Russia in UN confrontation full of anger over war in Ukraine

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UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 22 (Reuters) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov defended Moscow’s war in Ukraine at the UN Security Council on Thursday, as the United Nations warned Moscow about the annexation of Ukrainian regions and called on Western ministers to take responsibility for atrocities.

Lavrov was alone in the council chambers to deliver his speech to the 15-member agency meeting, attended by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Lavrov did not listen to anyone else speaking.

“I noticed today that Russian diplomats flee as aptly as Russian troops,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the Security Council meeting on accountability in Ukraine.

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The council, which met on Ukraine for at least the 20th time this year, has been unable to take meaningful action because Russia is a permanent veto member along with the United States, France, Britain and China.

Lavrov accused Kiev of threatening Russia’s security and “brutal trampling” on the rights of Russians and Russian-speakers in Ukraine, adding that it “simply confirms that the decision to conduct the special military operation was inevitable”.

Ukraine’s Kuleba said: “The number of lies from Russian diplomats is quite exceptional.”

Lavrov said countries that supply weapons to Ukraine and train its soldiers are parties to the conflict, adding that “the collective West’s deliberate fomenting of this conflict went unpunished.”

Blinken promised that Washington would continue to support Ukraine to defend itself.

“The highly international order that we have gathered here to maintain is being shattered before our very eyes. We cannot let President Putin get away with it,” he told the council, which met at the annual meeting of world leaders before the UN. General Assembly.

DELIVERY TO REFERENDUMS

Thousands have been killed and Ukrainian cities reduced to rubble since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday threatened with nuclear weapons to defend Russia and moved to annex parts of Ukrainian territory. read more

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the council that a nuclear conflict is “totally unacceptable”. Guterres also said plans for “so-called” referendums were worrisome.

“Any annexation of the territory of one state by another state as a result of the threat or use of force is a violation of the UN Charter and of international law,” Guterres said.

Referendums on Russia’s accession are expected to take place from Friday to Tuesday in several largely Russian-occupied regions of eastern and southern Ukraine, covering about 15% of the country’s territory.

International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan told the council there were “reasonable grounds” to believe that crimes within the court’s jurisdiction had been committed in Ukraine. The Hague court hears war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and aggression.

Khan opened an investigation into Ukraine a week after the Russian invasion. He said on Thursday that research priorities were the deliberate targeting of civilian objects and the transfer of populations from Ukraine, including children.

The United States has said estimates from various sources, including Moscow, indicate that authorities have “interrogated, detained and forcibly deported” up to 1.6 million Ukrainians since the invasion of Moscow.

‘NO END IN SIGHT’

The United States, Britain and other members called for Russia to be held accountable for the atrocities they believe Moscow committed in Ukraine. Russia denies targeting civilians and describes accusations of human rights abuses as a smear campaign.

“We must make it clear to President Putin that his attack on the Ukrainian people must stop … that there can be no impunity for those who commit atrocities,” said British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, adding that the world’s “catalogue of lies.”

China’s Wang said the priority was to resume the dialogue without preconditions and that both sides would hold back and not let tensions escalate.

“China’s position on Ukraine is clear,” Wang said. “The sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected and the reasonable security concerns of all countries must be taken seriously.”

At a separate event on the sidelines of the UN high-level meeting, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney urged countries to support Ukraine’s push for the UN General Assembly to set up a compensation commission.

“The Ukrainian people are under attack and the end is not yet in sight,” said Clooney, who is part of an international legal task force advising Ukraine on ensuring accountability for Ukrainian victims in national jurisdictions and by working with the ICC. .

“They should know that one day, when this is all over, they can rebuild their country and their lives,” she said, adding that Ukraine may need as much as $1 trillion to repair the damage done by Russia.

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Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Michelle Nichols, Daphne Psaledakis, John Irish and Brendan McDermid; Editing by Mary Milliken, Jonathan Oatis and Daniel Wallis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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