UNITED NATIONS — The US ambassador to the United Nations said Friday that there should no longer be any doubt that Russia intends to dismantle Ukraine “and completely dissolve it from the world map.”
Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the UN Security Council that the United States is seeing increasing signs that Russia is laying the groundwork to try to annex all of Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions and the southern Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, including by installing “illegitimate proxy officials in Russian-controlled areas, with the aim of holding bogus referendums or decrees to join Russia.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov “has even declared that this is Russia’s war goal,” he said.
Lavrov told an Arab summit in Cairo on Sunday that Moscow’s overall goal in Ukraine is to free its people from its “unacceptable regime.”
Seemingly suggesting that Moscow’s war aims extend beyond Ukraine’s industrial Donbas region to the east that comprises Donetsk and Lugansk, Lavrov said: “We will certainly help the Ukrainian people get rid of the regime, which is absolutely anti-popular and anti-historical.” “.
Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN Dmitry Polyansky told the Security Council on Friday that “the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine will be carried out in full.”
“There should no longer be a threat from this stage to Donbas, nor to Russia, nor to the liberated Ukrainian territories where, for the first time in several years, people can finally feel that they can live the way they want,” he said. . .
Polyansky also warned Western nations supplying long-range artillery and ground-to-ground MLRS rockets that they were moving “the provisional security line” further west, “and in doing so further clarify the aims and objectives of our special military operation.” “. .”
Thomas-Greenfield went after countries that say “one country’s security should not be at the expense of another,” asking what they call the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He did not name any countries, but this is a view China has frequently repeated, including on Friday by its deputy ambassador to the UN, Geng Shuang.
He told the council: “Putting one’s own security above that of others, trying to strengthen military blocs, establishing absolute superiority… will only lead to conflict and confrontation, divide the international community and become less secure.” .
The US ambassador also attacked nations calling for all countries to adopt diplomacy without naming Russia, saying, “Let’s be clear: Russia’s ongoing actions are the obstacle to a resolution of this crisis.” Again, he did not name countries, but a significant number of nations in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East take this approach.
Thomas-Greenfield cited evidence of mounting atrocities, including reported bombings of schools and hospitals, “the killing of aid workers and journalists, the targeting of fleeing civilians, the brutal execution-style killing of those going about their daily business in Bucha, the suburb of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, where local authorities said hundreds of people were killed during its occupation by Russian forces.
He said there is evidence that Russian forces “interrogated, forcibly detained and deported a few hundred thousand Ukrainian citizens, including children, uprooting them from their homes and sending them to remote regions in the east.”
Nearly 2 million Ukrainian refugees have been sent to Russia, according to Ukrainian and Russian officials. Ukraine describes these trips as forced transfers to enemy soil, which is considered a war crime. Russia calls them humanitarian evacuations of war victims who already speak Russian and are grateful for a new home.
A recent Associated Press investigation based on dozens of interviews found that while the situation is more nuanced than Ukrainians suggest, many refugees are forced to embark on a surreal journey to Russia, subjected to anti-military abuse along the way. human rights, stripped of documents. and they were left confused and lost about where they are. Those who leave go through a series of what are known as filter points, where treatment ranges from interrogation and strip searches to being pushed aside and never seen again.
“The United Nations has information that officials in the Russian presidential administration are supervising and coordinating the leak operations,” Thomas-Greenfield told the council.
Polyansky responded that, despite Ukraine’s efforts to intimidate its citizens, “people are choosing the country they trust”: Russia.
He warned that the heavy weapons the West pours into Ukraine “will spread to Europe” because of what he says is “the burgeoning corruption among Ukraine’s political and military leaders.”
Polyansky said Western weapons are only “prolonging the agony and increasing the suffering of the Ukrainian people.”
Addressing the Western ambassadors, he said: “The objectives of our special military operation will be achieved in any way, no matter how much fuel they pour into the fire in the form of weapons.”