Russia tells the UN that it does not want a bloodbath in Ukraine

United Nations.- The representative of Russia before the UN Security Council said on Monday that his country “does not want a bloodbath in Donbas” (Eastern region of Ukraine) and assured that there is “an unfounded panic of the invasion of Ukraine” in many Western countries.

The session was convened urgently at the request of Ukraine in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement to recognize the self-proclaimed states of Donetsk and Lugansk (which form the Donbas region) and the subsequent dispatch of troops to these two enclaves, an announcement that has aggravated a conflict that has been brewing for several weeks.

The Russian ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, listened unperturbed to the declarations of the member countries of the Councilwho mostly condemned the attack on Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, with the notable exceptions of China and India, limited themselves to generic calls for diplomacy.

Read more: Joe Biden sanctions Donetsk and Lugansk after proclaiming themselves independent from Ukraine

The session ended without any agreement and without the bloc of countries allied with the United States announcing the new sanctions against Russia that they promised today from their respective capitals and that will supposedly materialize in the next few hours.

In reality, the Council session, convened with unusual haste – just two hours in advance – and at night, something that only happens on the eve of major conflicts, did not serve to advance the conflict one iota, since Russia denied that the reconnaissance of Donestk and Lugansk or the sending of additional troops supposes a qualitative change on the ground.

The Russian ambassador regretted that none of the speakers remembered the civilian population of Donbas, which he estimated at four million people, of which 60,000, mostly women and children, have fled as refugees to Russia in the last days fleeing -he affirmed- from the bombardments of the Ukrainian army.

“It is to protect that population” – Nebenzia maintained – that Russia is going to send soldiers in what he called “peace missions”, while denouncing the Ukrainian government for “infiltrating subversive groups in Donbas to sabotage the infrastructures” civilians.

But the tone of the Russian ambassador was not bellicose, but rather, as has become customary in recent debates in the Security Council, he tried to refute the accusations that rained down on him from the United States, backed en bloc by the United Kingdom, France, Norway, Ireland and Albania.

“Putin is testing the international system and seeing how far he can push the UN,” US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said, adding that Putin’s recognition of the two republics violates international law and is nothing but the prelude to an invasion, which was denied by the Russian.

Some countries distance themselves from Russia

China, India and the United Arab Emirates, allies of Russia in other conflicts, as well as Brazil, they avoided criticizing Moscow and limited themselves to generic calls for negotiations; it was the Chinese ambassador who was most reluctant to break his traditional alignment with Moscow, recalling that the conflict in Ukraine was “the result of many complex factors.”

But other countries that in recent days were equidistant today distanced themselves from Russia, in clear disagreement with the unilateral recognition of those two republics in eastern Ukraine because they considered that it is a rupture of a pillar of the world order such as sovereignty and integrity of UN member states.

Thus, Mexico, Gabon, Ghana and Kenya had today, with nuances, words of condemnation against what they considered an attack on the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine, stressing that it also represents a violation of the 2015 Minsk Agreements whose primacy has been claimed by Moscow as a basis for any solution in Ukraine.

The representative of Ukraine in the UN, Sergiy Kyslytsya, who had been invited to this extraordinary session, also took the floor and, in a measured tone, demanded his country’s right “to individual and collective self-defense”, and although he said he was betting through diplomatic channels, he also proclaimed: “We are not afraid of anything or anyone, nor are we going to yield anything to anyone.”

Read more: “Our position is the peaceful solution”; Mexico on UN meeting for Ukraine

“The United Nations is sick with a virus, the Kremlin virus,” he said, “will they succumb to this virus? It depends on them,” he concluded.

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