Lavrov at the United Nations criticized Russia’s war in Ukraine

  • US and Western allies have taken turns criticizing Russia for its ongoing war in Ukraine and accusing Moscow of trampling on the UN charter.
  • Lavrov, who traveled from Moscow to New York to chair the Security Council, defended his country’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.
  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who sat next to Lavrov, criticized Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine and said it violated international law.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov listens as United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a meeting of the Security Council at United Nations Headquarters on April 24, 2023 in New York City.

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 trampling on the UN Charter, during a drawn-out Security Council meeting chaired by 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 remarks to the international forum. He also repeated allegations that Kiev was 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 United Nations, placed the blame squarely on Russia during her opening remarks to the 15-member group.

“Our hypocritical advocate today, Russia, invaded its neighbor Ukraine and struck at the heart of the UN Charter,” said Thomas Greenfield, referring to the UN’s founding document pledging to uphold sovereignty, peace, justice and prevent war.

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“This illegal, unjustified and unnecessary war is in direct contradiction to our most sacred principle, which is that war of aggression and land occupation is absolutely unacceptable,” she said. “Today it is Ukraine, but tomorrow it may be another country, another small country being invaded by its larger neighbour,” she added.

In direct statements to Lavrov, Thomas Greenfield reiterated his calls for the immediate release of Wall Street Journal reporter Ivan Gershkovitch and former US Marine Paul Whelan, whose sister attended the meeting.

“I want Minister Lavrov to look her in the eye and see her suffering. I want you to see what it’s like to miss your brother for four years. To know that he’s being held in a Russian penal colony, simply because you want to use it,” Thomas Greenfield said.

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

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.

He said the conflict was “causing massive suffering and destruction to the country and its people and adding to the global economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

He warned that tensions between the world’s major powers had reached a “historic peak”.

Guterres also called for an extension of the Black Sea Grains Initiative, a UN-backed deal that created a humanitarian sea corridor for Ukrainian agricultural products.

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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 may not renew the agreement, which expires in mid-May.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres speaks during a meeting of the Security Council at United Nations Headquarters on April 24, 2023 in New York City.

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations, Barbara Woodward, said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine had caused “unimaginable suffering to this country while trampling on the UN charter”.

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

She added that the war had also caused a “great disaster for Russia”.

Japan’s envoy also criticized Moscow’s war and demanded an immediate withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine.

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

“Russia’s continued and unjustified aggression is nothing but an outright defiance of the principle of the United Nations Charter,” he added.

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