Russian delegation abruptly departs UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine

31 January 2022, 10:04 PM

In the middle of a UN Security Council meeting called by the United States on Jan. 31 to discuss the buildup of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, just as the Ukrainian delegate was about to speak, Vasily Nebenzya, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, abruptly got up and left the meeting.

When Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, took his place to speak, the Russian delegation suddenly stood up and exited the chamber, claiming that they had a previously unannounced “prior appointment.”

Before that, the meeting had included tense exchanges between the Russian and U.S. sides, with the U.S. side pointing out the disinformation being spread by the Russian side, and the Russians once again pushing forward the discredited narrative that the U.S. assisted in allowing “nationalists, radicals, Russophobes and pure Nazis” to take power in Ukraine.

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Nebenzya once again denied knowledge of any Russian plans to invade Ukraine, claiming that the United States was responsible for the military escalation that’s seen over 100,000 Russian troops mass on the Ukrainian border.

"You are almost calling for this, you want it to happen. You're waiting for it to happen as if you want to make your words become a reality,” Nebenzya said, accusing the United States of being behind the tensions – despite Russia rebuffing all diplomatic efforts by Ukraine and its partner countries to attempt a diplomatic resolution to the crisis.

The U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said Russia was “…attempting, without any factual basis, to paint Ukraine and Western countries as the aggressors to fabricate a pretext for attack.”

In comments to press following the meeting, Kyslytsya said that Russia was setting a “Kafka(esque) trap” for Ukraine, attempting to ensure that any Ukrainian action could be misconstrued as a provocation for war.

Since the end of October 2021, Russia has been massing troops close to the Ukrainian border.

Russia has since deployed more than 130,000 troops and offensive weapons near the Ukrainian border and in the temporarily occupied parts of the country, according to the latest intelligence estimate by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

International media have speculated that Russia may invade Ukraine in early 2022, in an operation that could involve up to 200,000 Russian soldiers.

The situation on Ukraine's eastern border is a matter of deep concern for both U.S. and European officials. According to U.S. President Joe Biden, the White House is looking at a range of options to dissuade Russia from attacking Ukraine.

Biden has defined these measures as “the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to go ahead and do what people believe he may do.”

While Russia has denied plans to invade, it has also refused to provide assurances that it would not do so, instead issuing its demand for so-called “security guarantees” to the United States and NATO.

Prompted by the looming threat of a new Russian offensive against Ukraine, the United States and Ukraine’s other partner countries have begun to supply Kyiv with weapons.

The United States sees indications that Russia is preparing for a major offensive against Ukraine by mid-February, according to U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.

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