Lavrov out of UN meeting after criticism of Russia over Ukraine war

New York

Russia’s foreign minister was absent from the chamber as his country faced widespread rebuke from the United States and others. war in ukraine At a UN Security Council meeting, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned fellow diplomats, “The international order we have gathered here to maintain is being cut off before our eyes.”

“We can’t — we won’t — don’t allow President Putin to get away with it,” Blinken remarked at the UN General Assembly’s high-level meeting on Thursday, during the week.

The meeting came amid a week-long offensive by Moscow, including a mobilization order for hundreds of thousands of troops and plans for a “sham referendum” in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine.

Blinken said, “President Putin chose this week, as most of the world gathers at the United Nations, to add fuel to the fire. and showed contempt.” ,

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was absent from the chamber for all but his remarks, in which he rejected widespread international condemnation and again blamed Kyiv for the invasion of Moscow. Several officials suggested that the top Russian diplomat left the room because he did not want to hear condemnation.

A senior US State Department official told reporters on Thursday that “Russia really felt the warm breath of world opinion” at the meeting.

“I don’t think there was anyone in that room on the Security Council, from (Chinese Foreign Minister) Wang Yi to Tony Blinken, who gave rest to Vladimir Putin or Lavrov. Everyone said this war had to end.’

The official said Lavrov “didn’t appear until two minutes before his own speech—he listened to one of his ministers more than he was listening—and then he told you within a minute and a half of speaking.”

He said the Russian officials who sat in the chamber for most of the meeting – Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin – and his team “were stone-faced the whole time.”

However, “when[Lavrov]began prosecuting again in 2014 and calling Ukrainian Nazis and doing classic Putin mirror-imaging, there were faces of incredulity around the table, accusing the rest of the world of Russia itself.” , including atrocities and human rights abuses, I mean, it was just ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass,'” he said.

Blinken and others, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, highlighted the atrocities uncovered in Ukraine, the war’s global effects on things like food security, and called on Russia to stop its nuclear sabers.

The top US diplomat said Vladimir Putin’s threat to Russia to use “all available weapon systems” is “more dangerous given Russia’s intention to occupy large areas of Ukraine in the coming days.”

“When this is completed, we can expect President Putin to claim any Ukrainian attempt to liberate this land as an attack on so-called Russian territory,” Blinken explained. “This is from a country that in January this year, in this place, joined the other permanent members of the Security Council in signing a statement, and I quote, ‘Nuclear war can never be won. can and should never be fought. needed.

“There must be a clear message to every member of the Council that these reckless nuclear threats must be stopped immediately,” he said.

Blinken said Russia’s efforts to annex more Ukrainian territory – which US officials say is the expected next step after referendums called this week by Russian-backed leaders of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson – There is “another dangerous escalation” and a denial of diplomacy. ,

“It’s even more dangerous when Russian forces are carrying out sifting through the parts of Ukraine they control,” Blinken said. “It is a diabolical tactic: violently overthrow hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians; bus in Russians to replace them; call votes; and manipulate results to show unanimous support for joining the Russian Federation. Crimea Playbook’s right outside.”

He again called for accountability for crimes uncovered in former Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine such as Buka, Irpin, Izium, where mass graves have been discovered and survivors described acts of torture.

“These are not acts of evil entities; They fit into a clear pattern in territory controlled by Russian forces,” Blinken said. stands by.”

Blinken reiterated that the United States would continue to support Ukraine and called on others to do the same.

“President Putin is making his choice. Now it’s up to all our countries to make ours. Ask President Putin to stop the terror he started. Ask him to put his own interests behind the interests of the rest of the world, including his people. Stop putting him above all else. Tell him to stop defaming this council and what it stands for,” Blinken said.

“One man chose this war. And one man can end it,” he said. “Because if Russia stops fighting, the war is over. If Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine will end.”

This story has been updated with additional details.

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