Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, promised that the UN Security Council would put significant pressure on Moscow during the Monday discussion of Russian troops massing at the Ukrainian border.
“Russia cannot block the security council from holding a meeting. They will certainly attempt to. They will distract from our unified voices. But they know that they cannot block the meeting … The security council is unified. Our voices are unified in calling the Russians to explain themselves. We’re going to go in the room prepared to listen to them, but we’re not going to be distracted by their propaganda and we are going to be prepared to respond to any disinformation that they attempt to spread during this meeting,” Ms. Thomas-Greenfield told George Stephanopoulos, anchor of ABC’s This Week and former White House communications director during the Clinton administration.
“At this time, they’re saying that Russia threatens Ukraine — that’s completely ridiculous. We don’t want war and we don’t need it at all,”said Nikolai Patrushev, head of Russia’s Security Council, on Sunday, reported NPR.
“They have continued to escalate despite our effort to try to find a diplomatic route for them and to encourage them to de-escalate. Part of the reason we are calling this meeting on Monday, is one more opportunity to find a diplomatic way out for the Russians … We know that an attack is possible. You don’t amass 100,000 troops if you don’t intend to use them,” Ms. Greenfield told Mr. Stephanopoulos.
Russian Foreign Minister Segey Lavrov commented Sunday concerning Ukraine and NATO, saying that the NATO powers “have already come close to Ukraine. They also want to drag this country there … although everyone understands that Ukraine is not ready and could make no contribution to strengthening NATO security … It is difficult to call it defensive. Do not forget that they bombed Yugoslavia for almost three months, invaded Libya, violating the U.N. Security Council resolution, and how they behaved in Afghanistan.”
“More than 100,000 Russian troops are deployed on the Ukrainian border and Russia is engaging in other destabilizing acts aimed at Ukraine, posing a clear threat to international peace and security and the UN Charter. As we continue our relentless pursuit of diplomacy to de-escalate tensions in the face of this serious threat to European and global peace and security, the UN Security Council is a crucial venue for diplomacy,” Ms. Greenfield said in a statement on Thursday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has made no public response so far concerning the western response. While Mr. Lavrov made it clear that the West’s response leaves little room for reaching an agreement. He also emphasized the contention that NATO expansion is a threat.
The U.S. and NATO have formally rejected Russia’s demands to halt NATO expansion. However, Washington outlined areas where discussion could take place and offered hope that there might be a path which does not lead to war.