The U.S. called his moves a pretext for a further invasion, many members condemned his violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and even close ally China urged diplomacy and a peaceful solution.
Ukraine called for the rare evening session along with the U.S., five European countries and Mexico to condemn Putin’s actions earlier Monday to recognize the independence of the separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, scenes of an eight-year war, and order his military to “maintain peace” there.
Russia happens to hold the Security Council’s rotating presidency this month and wanted the meeting to be closed, but diplomats said they agreed to an open session under intense pressure from Western and other members.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, dismissed “as nonsense” Putin’s announcement that Russian troops would be in the separatist area known as Donbas as peacekeepers, saying their presence is “clearly the basis for Russia’s attempt to create a pretext for a further invasion of Ukraine.” She said he gave the world a choice, and it “must not look away” because “history tells us that looking the other way in the face of such hostility will be a far more costly path.”
Putin is testing to see “how far he can push us all,” and all countries must stand up for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine and all countries, Thomas-Greenfield said,
French U.N. Ambassador Nicolas De Riviere said Russia "is choosing the path of challenge and confrontation, despite the relentless efforts for de-escalation over the past weeks and days,” including by French President Emmanuel Macron in conjunction with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
“We will continue these efforts and call on Russia to match its words with deeds when it claims to be in favor of dialogue and to reverse the decision to recognize the separatist entities,” he said.
British U.N. Ambassador Barbara Woodward said there are reports of Russian troops and tanks now entering Donetsk and Luhansk and she warned that “an invasion of Ukraine unleashes the forces of war, death and destruction on the people of Ukraine.”
She urged the Security Council to call on Russia to stop any military action, condemn aggression against a sovereign state and defend Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and call on Russia to respect its obligations under the U.N. Charter. That is virtually impossible given Russia’s veto power on council actions.
“Russia has brought us to the brink,” Woodward said. “We urge...