UPDATED 11:38 AM PT – Tuesday, February 1, 2022
U.S. and Russian delegates traded barbs at a United Nations Security Council meeting. On Monday, Joe Biden’s ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, urged urged UNSC members to rally behind America and Ukraine She added, Russia’s buildup of military troops near its border with Ukraine goes against the UN charter.
This was the first public UN meeting on the Russia-Ukraine crisis and came at the request of America. Russia and China reportedly banded together to try to block the meeting from the public, but attempts were squashed by 10 other members.
Thomas-Greenfield echoed the Biden administration’s narrative that a potential Russian invasion is “urgent” and “dangerous,” but she promised her Russian counterpart that she’s willing to sit down and hash out a resolution.
“The United States has been clear: if this is truly about Russia’s security concerns in Europe, we are offering them an opportunity to address these concerns at the negotiating table,” stated the U.S. ambassador. “The test? The Russians good faith in the coming days and weeks is whether they will come to that table and stay at that table until we reach an understanding.”
Thomas-Greenfield went on to allege the implications of a Russian invasion, claiming if Russia moves into Ukraine it will also threaten the stability of all of Europe. This comes as more than 100,000 Russian troops are reportedly stationed outside the Russia-Ukraine border, which the U.S. diplomat says are combat ready. She added, this is the largest buildup of troops in Europe in decades and stirred up former aggressive actions taken by Russia.
“If Russia further invades Ukraine, none of us will be able to say we didn’t see it coming and the consequences will be horrific,” Thomas-Greenfield noted. “Which is why this meeting is so important today.”
However, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzia, dismissed Thomas-Greenfield’s comments as incendiary rhetoric. Nebenzia accused the U.S. of embellishing his government’s intensions and further maintained the Kremlin’s stance that Russia is not planning to invade.
The Russian diplomat reiterated Russia has only two demands that would help simmer tensions: the non-inclusion of Ukraine into NATO and the pullout of NATO troops from territories surrounding Russia.
“You want it to happen, you’re waiting for it to happen as if you want to make your words become a reality,” he stated. “This is despite the fact that we are constantly rejecting these allegations. Our security demands are much broader: the non-inclusion exception of Ukraine to NATO, the non -deployment in its territory of foreign troops. All of this is just one part of the agreement that could fundamentally improve the military political situation in Europe.”
Nebenzia also called out the U.S. for its hypocrisy on the situation while pointing out the Biden administration has been touting funneling military assistance to Ukraine.
“It’s difficult to explain why our colleagues from the U.S. and a number of other countries are actively pumping Ukraine full of weapons and ammunition,” he noted. “And talk about this with great pride.”
In the meantime, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield stressed she and other Biden diplomats will continue to push an approach of aggressive diplomacy to resolve the conflict.
Additionally, Ambassador Nebenzia asserted Russia and Ukraine are currently negotiating revisions of a 2015 ceasefire agreement. He warned western powers meddling in these talks will do insurmountable damage to Ukraine’s stability.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s ambassador to the UN underscored the importance of finding a peaceful resolution stressing “everyone will suffer even if you are far away from Ukraine.”