UN Chief Lambasts Russia On War Against Its Neighbor
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a Security Council meeting Monday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is “causing massive suffering and devastation to Ukraine and its people” and contributing to “global economic dislocation triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Tensions between major powers are at a historic high. So are the risks of conflict, through misadventure or miscalculation,” Guterres said.
Sitting next to the U.N. chief, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned the council that the world is now in a more dangerous situation than even during the Cold War. “As during the Cold War, we have reached the dangerous, possibly even more dangerous, threshold,” Lavrov said during the session on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security” that he was chairing. Russia holds the monthly rotating presidency of the 15-member body for April.
EU ammunition for Ukraine
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said at a European Union meeting in Luxemburg Monday that the EU must accelerate its acquisition of ammunition for Ukraine.
During the meeting, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell expressed confidence member states will finalize the remaining details. He said that despite some disagreements among the members, he was sure that “everybody will understand we are in a situation of extreme urgency.”
After Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba addressed the meeting by video, Borrell said the best way to stop the war is for Russia to stop fighting and withdraw from Ukrainian territory.
“Until then, we will continue to ensure Ukraine has the capacity to defend itself from the Russian aggression,” Borrell said.
Kuleba expressed frustration last week that the agreement reached by EU members in March to jointly buy artillery ammunition for Ukraine and boost European ammunition production had not yet been implemented.
China on Ukraine sovereignty
Separately, China announced Monday that it “respects former Soviet countries as sovereign states [and] that common sense dictates Ukraine is sovereign because it’s a member of the United Nations.” The statement by China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Mao Ning, came as a response to comments by the Chinese ambassador to France, Lu Shaye last Friday. Lu said that Crimea was historically part of Russia, offered to Ukraine by former Soviet President Nikita Khrushchev in 1954.
“These ex-USSR countries don’t have actual status in international law because there is no international agreement to materialize their sovereign status,” Lu said in a French TV interview, causing consternation among EU member states and Ukraine.
Beijing has distanced itself from Lu’s comments. A statement by the Chinese embassy in Paris said the ambassador’s comments on Ukraine “were not a political declaration but an expression of his personal views.”
Meanwhile, a Russian official reported a drone attack on the Crimean port of Sevastopol early Monday.
The Russia-installed governor of the city, Mikhail Razvozhaev, said on social media that Russian forces destroyed a surface drone, while a second drone exploded.
Razvozhaev said there was no reported damage from the attack.
There was no immediate confirmation of the attack from Ukraine’s military. An October drone attack on Russia’s Black Sea fleet was blamed on Ukraine.
Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, a move not recognized by the international community.
Britain’s defense ministry said Monday that authorities in Russia-occupied areas of Ukraine are “almost certainly coercing the population to accept Russian Federation passports.”
In its daily assessment, the British ministry said residents of Kherson, another area Russia has claimed to annex, were threatened with deportation and seizure of their property if they do not accept a Russian passport by June 1.
Russia is likely expediting “the integration of the occupied areas of Ukraine into the bureaucracy of the Russian Federation to help paint the invasion as a success…,” the ministry said.