On Ukraine, Russia repeatedly insists it has no choice


UN-Russia warned the world of the war in Ukraine on Saturday, reiterating a series of grievances against its neighbors and Western powers, and telling the UN General Assembly summit that Moscow would be forced to take military action.

After days of blaming Russia at a high-profile diplomatic conference, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov tried to shift the focus to Washington. His speech centered on the assertion that the United States and its allies, not Russia as claimed by the West, are actively undermining the international system represented by the United Nations.

Citing history from the U.S. war in Iraq in the early 2000s to the Cold War of the 20th century to U.S. policies in the 19th century that essentially declared U.S. influence over the Western Hemisphere, Lavrov argued that the U.S. could afford itself. portrayed as a bully trying to get He asserts the sacred right to act without guilt wherever he is, and cannot accept a world where other nations also pursue their national interests.

“The United States and our allies want to stop the march of history,” he argued.

The U.S. and Ukraine did not respond in parliament on Saturday but could provide a formal answer at a subsequent meeting.The presidents of both countries gave speeches describing Russia as a dangerous aggressor who must be stopped. have already done

Lavrov accused the West of aiming to “destroy and divide Russia” and to “remove the too-totally independent geopolitical entity from the world map.”

The war in Ukraine has dominated the debate at Congress’s big annual meeting, with many nations embarking on the February 24 invasion of Russia, denouncing the nuclear threat and Russia’s atrocities and war crimes. and denounced the decision to mobilize the call. Even when Congress met, it increased some of its reserves.

Swedish Foreign Minister Anne Linde declared on Saturday that “neither partial mobilization, nuclear strikes nor any other escalation will deter support for Ukraine.”

Russia has some friends in the vast chamber, and Belarus offered full defense against its larger neighbor on Saturday. It is precisely the West that has made this conflict inevitable.”

The speech was made during the Russian-occupied territories in eastern and southern Ukraine where votes were being held on whether to join Russia. While Moscow characterizes referendums as self-determination, Kyiv and its Western allies see them as Kremlin-orchestrated shams and foregone conclusions.

Some observers believe the expected outcome could serve as an excuse for Russian President Vladimir Putin to finally escalate the war further.

US Secretary of State Antony Brinken told the UN Security Council on Thursday: “President Putin will claim that any attempt by Ukraine to liberate this land is an attack on so-called ‘Russian territory’. warned.

Lavrov dismissed the complaint, saying the West is “having a seizure” about people choosing where they feel they belong.

Russia has provided a number of explanations for what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine. Lavrov reiterated several things: the hostile government in Kyiv and the risks for Russia with the NATO alliance that has expanded eastward over the years and what Moscow sees as Ukrainian to Ukraine, especially To liberate Russians living in the eastern regions of Donbass. government repression.

“The inability of the West to negotiate and the continued war of the Kyiv regime against its own people forced it to recognize the two regions that make up Donbass as independent and send troops,” Lavrov said. Stated.

The aim was to “remove the threat to our security that NATO has consistently created in Ukraine,” he explained.

Ukraine recently kicked Russian forces out of parts of its northeast, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told parliament earlier this week that Moscow is preparing for a new offensive, or at least mobilizing troops, over the winter. while warned that he wanted to prepare the fortress.

In any case, he declared that his forces would eventually drive the Russian forces out of all of Ukraine.

“We can do it by force. But we need time,” said Zelensky, the only leader allowed to address parliament by video this year.

The war disrupted the Ukrainian-Russian grain trade and the Russian fertilizer trade, causing a global food crisis. A recent deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey helped move Ukrainian grain, but fertilizer shipments proved more difficult.

At a press conference after his speech, Lavrov said he had discussed the issue of the agreement during his meeting with UN Secretary-General António Guterres this week.

International sanctions against Russia do not cover food or fertilizer exports, but shipping companies, insurance companies and banks are reluctant to do business with Moscow. Lavrov told reporters on Saturday that Russia hoped that fertilizers that were stagnating in European ports would be quickly supplied to countries in need.

At Thursday’s Security Council meeting, Ukraine and Russia faced off in a rare moment when Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmitro Kleva were in the same room, but kept their distance.

In March, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly voted to lament Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, call for the immediate withdrawal of all Russian troops and seek the protection of millions of civilians. The following month, by a small margin, member states agreed to exclude Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.

Jennifer Peltz

Associated Press