UN Holds Emergency General Assembly Meeting To Address Russian Invasion Of Ukraine


Sergiy Kyslytsya, permanent representative of Ukraine to the United Nations, speaks during a meeting of the Security Council, Monday, Feb. 28, 2022, at United Nations headquarters. The U.N.'s two major bodies, the 193-nation General Assembly and the more powerful 15-member Security Council, are holding separate meetings Monday on Russia's invasion of Ukraine. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Sergiy Kyslytsya, permanent representative of Ukraine to the United Nations, speaks during a meeting of the Security Council, Monday, Feb. 28, 2022, at United Nations headquarters. The U.N.’s two major bodies, the 193-nation General Assembly and the more powerful 15-member Security Council, are holding separate meetings Monday on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The United Nations General Assembly held an emergency meeting over the crisis in Ukraine. On Monday, diplomats from around the world aired their grievances with the Russian Federation.

Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UN, Sergiy Kyslytsya, called on the General Assembly to stand with his country in its efforts to resist Russian aggression. He also derided Vladimir Putin’s calls to put his deterrence forces, including nuclear arms on high alert.

“If Ukraine does not survive, international peace will not survive,” Kyslytsya stated. “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.”

The emergency meeting was called after the UN Security Council failed to pass a resolution late last week calling for Russia to pull its troops out of Ukraine. Russia’s Ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia who is one of the permanent UNSC members and has veto powers, killed the measure by being the only member to vote against it.

While Ukrainian officials say they were not surprised by Russia’s actions, other members of the UN decried the vote while arguing it goes against the UN Charter. Meanwhile, Russia maintains it launched a special operation to keep peace in the Donbas region, where leaders have claimed independence from Ukraine.

“Russia counted on the world to remain silent, but we are acting,” stated Danish Ambassador to the UN, Martin Bille Hermann. “And on this day, and until peace prevails and every Ukrainian can safely return to their homes, we stand with Ukraine. The devastating consequences of this aggression not only for Europe but globally, cannot be overstated.”

Russian Ambassador Nebenzia added, Ukraine failed to meet the terms of the Minsk Agreement of 2015 that looked to quell violent uprisings in the region. He, along with Russian allies in the UN which includes Syria, believe the West is actually at fault for the crisis for supporting Ukraine with military aid.

“Our western colleagues have shamelessly inundated the country with weapons, have sent to the country instructors and effectively incited Ukrainians, who are facing a 120,000 strong military contingent to in prompted them to engage in armed provocation against the Donbas,” Nebenzia stated.

Other bodies within the UN are sounding the alarm on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. Officials warn more than 160,000 residents have been internally displaced while more than 500,000 Ukrainians have been forced to flee the country. They further lamented more than 400 civilians have been reported injured amid the fighting with 102 of those being declared dead.

“As we feared, as we all feared, civilians are already paying the price,” said Under Secretary General for UN Humanitarian Affairs, Martin Griffiths. “The scale of civilian casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure even in these very early days is alarming. Humanitarian needs are growing at an alarming pace in the hardest hit areas.”

In the meantime, the emergency session is expected to continue Tuesday with the remaining speakers set to give their analysis of the conflict. A vote on a resolution to press Russia to stop its invasion is expected to take place Wednesday. Diplomats sympathetic to Ukraine remain hopeful the resolution will pass, believing the world is united behind the Ukrainian people and Russia’s veto power will be ineffective.

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