US and Russia clash over responsibility for missile strike
UNITED NATIONS – The United States and its Western allies clashed on Wednesday at the UN Security Council with Russia over responsibility for a deadly missile strike in Poland near the Ukrainian border, an event that the The UN’s political chief called it a “chilling reminder of the absolute necessity to prevent any further escalation” of Ukraine’s nine-month war.
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the council: “This tragedy would never have happened had it not been for Russia’s needless invasion of Ukraine and its recent missile attacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure.” Russia’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia hit back, accusing Ukraine and Poland of trying to “provoke a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO”.
The United States and Albania had called for a council update on the situation in Ukraine last week, and the meeting was dominated by Tuesday’s missile strike in Poland that killed two farmworkers.
Nebenzia pointed to statements by the Ukrainian president and Polish officials initially indicating that Russia was responsible. The NATO chief and President of Poland said on Wednesday there was no indication it was a deliberate attack and that it was likely a Soviet-era projectile launched by the Ukraine as it repelled Russian missiles and drones that ravaged its power grid and hit residential buildings.
UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo told the council that it was Russia’s “most intense bombardment” since its February 24 invasion of Ukraine, and that the impact “can only worsen over the coming winter months”.
She reiterated that attacks targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure are prohibited by international law, noted that “severe battles” continue in eastern Donetsk and Luhansk and told council members “that there is no there is no end in sight to the war”. She also warned that “as long as this continues, the risks of a potentially catastrophic fallout remain all too real.”
Thomas-Greenfield, the US envoy, called the barrage of more than 90 missiles that rained down on Kyiv and other cities and targets devastating civilian infrastructure a “deliberate tactic” by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“He seems to have decided that if he can’t take Ukraine by force, he will try to freeze the country until he submits,” she said.
Poland’s UN ambassador Krzysztof Szczerski told the council “these innocent people would not have been killed if there hadn’t been a Russian war against Ukraine.” And Britain’s UN ambassador Barbara Woodward said: ‘We must be clear that this is a tragedy that unquestionably stems from Russia’s illegal and unjustified invasion. is an inhumane assault on civilians across Ukraine.
But Russia’s Nebenzia said he wanted to remind those who blame Russia that what Moscow calls its “special military operation” would not have been necessary if the Minsk accords after the 2014 Ukraine upheaval called for some degree of autonomy for Russia. -the sustained separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in the east had been filled in and had not led to an eight-year war.
Addressing the West, Nebenzia also said there would be no military action “if you hadn’t intervened and provided Ukraine with arms and ammunition” and encouraged Ukraine “to fight for peace under realistic conditions rather than fueling its feverish fantasies about the possibility of victory over Russia, in whose name the Zelensky regime is senselessly throwing tens of thousands of its soldiers into the meat grinder.”
As for the missile attacks, Nebenzia said: “If you reacted to the terrorist actions of the Ukrainian special forces against Russia, we would not be forced to carry out precision strikes on infrastructure.”
“But since you are acting as you are acting, while the Kyiv regime takes credit for non-existent military prowess, we are forced to achieve the goals set for the special military operation by weakening Ukraine’s military potential” , he added. said.
Britain’s Woodward strongly disagreed, telling the board: “We have no doubt that Ukraine will prevail against Russia’s aggression.”
Highlighting the Russian withdrawal from the city of Kherson in southern Ukraine, she said: “The liberation of Kherson shows the strength, courage and determination of the Ukrainian people to defend their right to sovereign equality and to territorial integrity guaranteed by the Charter of the United Nations.