Russia defends action in Ukraine at UNSC

NEW YORK: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Ukraine of creating threats against Russian security and “brazenly trampling” the rights of Russians and Russian-speakers in Ukraine
World leaders at the United Nations have called for Moscow to be held accountable for human rights violations in Ukraine as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov defended Moscow’s war and accused its neighbour of committing atrocities.
Addressing a meeting of the UN Security Council on atrocities committed in Ukraine since Russia’s 24 February invasion, Mr Lavrov accused Ukraine of creating threats against Russian security and “brazenly trampling” the rights of Russians and Russian-speakers in Ukraine.
“I can assure you that we will never accept this,” said Mr Lavrov, who came to the council chamber to speak and then left.
“Everything I’ve said today simply confirms that the decision to conduct the special military operation was inevitable.”
He said countries supplying weapons to Ukraine and training its soldiers were parties to the conflict, adding that “the intentional fomenting of this conflict by the collective West remained unpunished.”
Mr Lavrov also clashed with Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney over the issue of war crimes.
Minster Coveney strongly supported efforts to hold Russia accountable for war crimes, and the crime of aggression against another country. He spoke of his own experiences seeing the bodies of victims in Bucha.
But Mr Lavrov said Bucha was a staged incident, and that nobody except Russia has spoken about it since March.
He defended Russia’s actions as a protection for Russian language rights, and said the Ukrainian government was a neo-nazi conspriracy that came to power in a coup d’etat backed by the West.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken pledged that Washington would continue to support Ukraine to defend itself.
“The very international order we’ve gathered here to up hold is being shredded before our eyes. We can’t let President Putin get away with it,” Mr Blinken told the council.
Thousands have been killed and Ukrainian cities reduced to rubble since Russian forces invaded Ukraine in the biggest assault on a European state since World War Two.
The Security Council meeting today took place during the annual gathering of world leaders for the UN General Assembly.
The council has been unable to take any meaningful action on Ukraine because Russia is a permanent veto-wielding member along with the US, France, Britain and China. Today’s meeting is at least the 20th time the Security Council has met on Ukraine this year.
International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Karim Khan told the council there were “reasonable grounds” to believe crimes within the jurisdiction of the court had been committed in Ukraine. The Hague-based court handles war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and crimes of aggression.
Mr Khan said the ICC investigation priorities were intentional targeting of civilian objects and the transfer of populations from Ukraine, including children. –Agencies