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Western-Russian exchange in the Security Council

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Moscow brandishes nuclear and accuses Washington of covering “Kyiv crimes”

The Security Council session, which was held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly yesterday, witnessed mutual accusations between Russia and the West over the Ukraine war.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken used the session to criticize Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and pressure other countries to join strong Western condemnations of the conflict. Blinken repeated his accusations of “atrocities”, and condemned Russia’s suggestion of resorting to the use of nuclear weapons. “Every member of the Council must send a clear message that these reckless nuclear threats must stop immediately,” he said.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev again brandished the nuclear threat, saying yesterday that Russia could “use its mobilization capabilities and any other weapons, including nuclear weapons.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was not present when Blinken and some US allies spoke, and did not appear on the council until just before his speech. Lavrov repeated his country’s accusations that Kiev has long persecuted Russian speakers in eastern Ukraine. He said that the United States and its allies were deliberately “covering up the crimes of the Kyiv regime.”

As the meeting began, there were indications of a fraught atmosphere around the council table. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said talk of a nuclear conflict was “totally unacceptable”, warning that so-called referendums in Russian-controlled areas would be annexation.

For his part, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Khan, confirmed that he will send more court staff next week to look into the allegations arising from eastern Ukraine. However, he has not yet made public any charges related to the conflict, and has reiterated that he believes there are reasonable grounds to believe that crimes have been committed.
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