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Russia, Ukraine clash in rare emergency special session of UNGA on escalating crisis

Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UN Sergiy Kyslytsya began his impassioned statement to the General Assembly by reading out in Russian, messages exchanged between a Russian soldier and his mother moments the soldier was killed.

PTI Reported by: PTI Geneva Updated on: February 28, 2022 23:54 IST
russia ukraine, russia ukraine news, unga, un general assembly
Image Source : AP

United Nations: Ukraines UN Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya holds a copy of a screen shot he read from during his address to the emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly, Monday, Feb. 28, 2022. 

Highlights

  • Russia and Ukraine on Monday clashed in the UN General Assembly.
  • The session came as Kyiv called on the UN body to demand that Moscow stop its offensive.
  • The 193-member UN General Assembly convened the rare and unprecedented emergency special session.

Russia and Ukraine on Monday clashed in the UN General Assembly, which convened a rare emergency special session on the escalating crisis, with Kyiv calling on the UN body to demand that Moscow stop its offensive against it and Moscow asserting that it did not begin the hostilities but is seeking to end the war. The 193-member UN General Assembly convened the rare and unprecedented emergency special session on Russia’s military operation in eastern Ukraine after the 15-nation Security Council voted on a resolution to refer the crisis to the most representative body of the world organisation.

President of the 76th session of the General Assembly Abdulla Shahid presided over the meeting, only the 11th such emergency session of the General Assembly since 1950. With the adoption of the UNSC resolution on Sunday, it was for the first time in 40 years that the Council decided to call for an emergency special session in the General Assembly.

Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UN Sergiy Kyslytsya began his impassioned statement to the General Assembly by reading out in Russian, messages exchanged between a Russian soldier and his mother moments the soldier was killed.

"We have been prompted to call for an emergency special session as the level of threat to the global security has been equated to that of the Second World War or even higher following Putin’s order to put an alert Russian nuclear forces. What Madness,” he said.

He said the General Assembly should be “vocal" in demanding that Russia stop its offensive against Ukraine, in recognising Russian actions as an act of aggression against a sovereign and independent state and in demanding from Russia to immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw its forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.

Kyslytsya said the General Assembly should demand that Russia also reverse the decision relating to the status of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine. “The General Assembly should also be clear with regard to the treacherous role of Belarus and its involvement in aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine,” he said.

“If Ukraine does not survive, the United Nations will not survive. Have no illusions. If Ukraine does not survive, we cannot be surprised if democracy fails next. Now we can save Ukraine, save the United Nations, save democracy and defend the values we believe in and that Ukrainians are fighting for and paying with their lives,” Kyslytsya said.

He added that President Vladimir Putin has done everything to “delegitimise” the Russian presence in the United Nations. Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia, speaking after the Ukrainian envoy, said that the “root for the current crisis” lies in the actions of Ukraine itself.

“For many years, it sabotaged and flouted its direct obligations under the Minsk package of measure,” Nebenzia said. “I wish to state that the Russian Federation did not begin these hostilities. The hostilities were unleashed by Ukraine against its own residents, the residents of Donbass and all of those who are dissenters. Russia is seeking to end this war,” he said.

“For us, Ukraine joining NATO is a red line first and foremost from the military strategic level. The deployment of NATO infrastructure in that country would compel us to adopt measures in response and this has placed us at the verge of conflict.”

While a UNSC resolution condemning Russian invasion of Ukraine would have been legally binding and General Assembly resolutions are not, vote in the 193-member UN body is symbolic of world opinion on the crisis.

Also Read: Russia Ukraine War: Ukraine seeks to join EU as round of talks with Russia ends

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