UN chief blasts Russia’s Ukraine invasion as Lavrov looks on
(Bloomberg) -- United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres confronted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the Security Council on Monday, denouncing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a violation of the UN Charter as well as international law.
Lavrov sat impassively next to Guterres at the council’s iconic horseshoe-shaped table, but then launched into a tirade against the US and its allies when he spoke next.
Russia’s invasion “is causing massive suffering and devastation to the country and its people,” Guterres said. “We must find a way forward and act now as we have done before to stop the slide toward chaos and conflict.”
Russia’s top diplomat is in New York this week to lead sessions of the Security Council as part of Russia’s month-long rotating presidency of the body. Moscow chose “Defense of the UN Charter” as the topic of Monday’s session.
European Union ambassadors denounced that as cynical in light of Russia’s invasion and the fact that the charter calls on all UN members to respect each other’s sovereignty.
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The EU ambassadors reiterated calls for Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine. The US invited Elizabeth Whelan, the sister of imprisoned American Paul Whelan to attend. He’s been held in Russia for more than four years on espionage charges, allegations the US says are bogus.
Guterres alluded to the divisions Russia’s invasion has set off, saying that the multilateral system is under greater strain than at any time since the founding of the UN after World War II.
After talks with Guterres on Monday, Lavrov said Russia has not seen any progress on its demands concerning the Black Sea grain initiative.
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“We don’t see a will from Western countries to implement what is necessary to achieve a successful realization” of the Secretary General’s initiative for a packaged approach to agricultural-product exports from Ukraine and Russia, Lavrov said.