Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba has called on the United Nations and member states to find ways to keep applying pressure on Russia as the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, again warned of an expanded conflict that could see the severity of need unseen in many years.
Ukraine’s top diplomat, Kuleba, spoke during an annual meeting on his country in the General Assembly after contacts with the leadership of the US Government including President, Joe Biden, in Washington a day earlier.
He called for significant increases in humanitarian aid to his country, floated the idea of UN peacekeepers while making the case for further and immediate sanctions against Russia as a preventative tool.
It was the turn of the General Assembly to weigh in on the escalating situation in eastern Ukraine after Russian troops entered the Donbas region under the guise of a peacekeeping operation, a term rejected by the UN Chief as pressure builds on the international community to act.
Kuleba met on Tuesday with President Biden and the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken after Washington and western partners announced the first tranche of sanctions against Moscow, promising more.
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Kuleba urged the international community not to wait too long, urging additional sanctions, more defensive weapons for Ukraine while maintaining the diplomatic track with Moscow.
“The situation deteriorates every day. And no one can allow waiting until it’s too late. As foreign minister, I do my best to avoid a situation when the world reacts to the war only after Ukrainian blood will be spilled. I do not want my compatriots to pay their lives and sufferings for the reluctance, for the cautiousness, for the inability to act by other governments or international organizations.”
Guterres, called for a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine and for a return to dialogue while arguing that Russia’s actions were inconsistent with resolutions of the General Assembly.
He also rubbished Moscow’s claims of a peacekeeping operation which he believes can only take place with the consent of the host country, Ukraine.
Russia’s Ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, for his part criticized the stance of the SG, saying it was not in line with his status or his mandate, a view the UN rejects.
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