(United Nations) UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told the UN General Assembly on Wednesday that the world was facing “a moment of peril” with the crisis between Russia and the West around Ukraine, a country which has insistently demanded the withdrawal of Russian troops.
The conflict triggered by Russia, “the only aggressor”, could result in “a new refugee crisis” with “up to 5 million additional people displaced”, warned the American ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas- Greenfield.
The General Assembly meeting was an annual session on the “temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories”, organized since the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Russia. It took a dramatic turn this year with the latest developments, more than 80 countries – representing all continents – out of the 193 UN members having chosen to speak.
The vast majority of the representatives who spoke criticized Russia in more or less virulent terms. Many brandished the UN Charter, some like Canadian Ambassador Bob Rae going so far as to read aloud the articles intended to avert war.
Seen as close to Moscow, Beijing has hinted at very little support. “The purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be upheld jointly,” Chinese Ambassador Zhang Jun said.
“Russia’s decision to recognize the so-called ‘independence’ of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and the aftermath, are violations of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and are incompatible with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations”, denounced the head of the UN at the opening of the meeting.
In the aftermath, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba stressed that Ukraine was not a threat to Russia.
“Ukraine never planned and does not plan any military operations in Donbass,” he said. “The start of a full-scale war in Ukraine will be the end of the world order as we know it,” warned Dmytro Kuleba, asking members of the United Nations not to recognize the independence of the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk.
“Russia must find the path of diplomacy (…) that it withdraw its troops, stop destabilizing the region”, demanded the Ukrainian minister. “We want peace! “Launched at the end of his long speech Dmytro Kuleba, strongly applauded.
The return of empires
“It’s 2022” and “we will not return to an era of empires and colonies — or to the USSR or the Soviet Union,” argued Linda Thomas-Greenfield. “We have moved forward and must ensure – as Kenya told the Security Council on Monday – that the embers of dead empires do not ignite new forms of oppression and violence,” she said. added.
“Because Ukraine is one of the world’s largest suppliers of wheat, particularly to the developing world, Russia’s actions could cause food prices to spike and lead to even more desperate hunger in the world. places like Libya, Yemen and Lebanon,” the American diplomat also said.
Previously, his Russian counterpart at the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, assured that the situation today was the result of the “2014 coup”, which led to a change of power in Ukraine more favorable to the West than in Moscow.
Since then, Kiev has been carrying out a “repression” against the Russian-speaking minority in Ukraine, denounced the Russian diplomat, even evoking – a first at the UN – the term “genocide” recently used by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to him, Kiev’s lack of action in favor of the east of the country has prompted “tens of thousands of people” to flee to Russia.
In a rare criticism of the secretary-general, Vassily Nebenzia, whose country, coincidentally, chairs the UN Security Council in February, judged that his latest statements against Moscow were not inconsistent with its mandate.
On Tuesday, Antonio Guterres firmly rejected the Russian assertion that genocide would be committed in the Donbass, in eastern Ukraine, and multiplied the accusations that the Kremlin violates the Charter of the United Nations.
Moscow is with Washington, Paris, London and Beijing one of the five permanent members of the Security Council. As such, he has a right of veto which allows him to annihilate any attempt in this body to condemn Russia.