© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a ceremony to receive letters of confidence from newly appointed foreign ambassadors at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, September 20, 2022. Sputnik / Pavel Bednyakov / Pool via REUTERS / File Photo
By Michelle Nichols, Daphne Psaledakis and Humeyra Pamuk
United Nations (Reuters) – World leaders at the United Nations on Thursday called on Moscow to be held accountable for human rights abuses in Ukraine as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov defended Moscow’s war and accused neighboring countries committed atrocities.
Speaking before a United Nations Security Council meeting on the atrocities that have occurred in Ukraine since the February 24 invasion of Russia, Foreign Minister Lavrov accused Ukraine of making threats against Russian security and “flagrantly trampled on” the rights of Russians and Russian-speaking people in Ukraine.
“I can assure you that we will never accept this,” said Lavrov, who went to the council room to give a speech and then left. “All I am saying today simply confirms that the decision to conduct a special military operation is inevitable.”
He said the countries that supply Ukraine with weapons and train their troops are parties to the conflict, adding that “the West’s willful promotion of this conflict remains unpunished. “
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken pledged that Washington would continue to assist Ukraine in self-defence.
Blinken told the council: “The international order that we have assembled here to maintain is being destroyed before our eyes. We cannot let President Putin get away with it.”
Thousands of people have been killed and Ukrainian cities have been reduced to rubble since Russian forces invaded Ukraine in the biggest attack on a European country since World War Two.
Thursday’s Security Council meeting comes during the annual meeting of world leaders for the United Nations General Assembly.
The council was unable to take any meaningful action on Ukraine because Russia is a permanent member with veto power along with the United States, France, Great Britain and China. Thursday’s meeting is at least the 20th time the Security Council has met on Ukraine this year.
International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan told the panel there were “reasonable grounds” to believe that crimes within the court’s jurisdiction were committed in Ukraine. Courts based in The Hague handle war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and crimes of aggression.
Khan said the ICC’s investigative priorities were targeted at civilian populations and displacement from Ukraine, including children.
The United States says estimates from various sources, including Moscow, indicate that authorities have “interrogated, detained, and forcibly deported” 1.6 million Ukrainians to Russia since Moscow’s invasion. .
The United States, United Kingdom and other members called on countries to hold Russia accountable for the atrocities they say Moscow has committed in Ukraine.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said: “We must make it clear to President Putin that his attack on the Ukrainian people must stop … that there can be no punishment for those who commit crimes.” , British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said, adding that the world needed to reject Moscow’s “catalogue” of lies.
UN chief Antonio Guterres told the meeting that talking about a nuclear conflict was “completely unacceptable.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday threatened to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia.
Guterres told the council’s ministerial meeting that he was concerned about the plans for “the so-called ‘referendum’.”
“Any annexation of the territory of one country by another by the threat or use of force is a violation of the United Nations Charter and international law,” Guterres said.
The referendums on Russia’s accession will take place from Friday to Tuesday in several largely Russian-administered regions of eastern and southern Ukraine, which account for about 15% of the country’s territory.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the priority was to resume dialogue without preconditions and for both sides to exercise restraint and not escalate tensions.
“China’s position towards Ukraine is clear. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected, and the reasonable security concerns of all countries should be respected,” he said. Wang said.
Asked if he could speak with Foreign Minister Lavrov at the Security Council on Thursday, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he would “keep a safe social distance”.