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Lavrov walks out of UN meeting as allies slam Russia over Ukraine war

“We cannot – we will not allow – to let President Putin get away with this,” Blinken said in a speech at a meeting on Thursday as part of the UN General Assembly High Level Week.

The meeting came amid a week-long escalation in Moscow’s actions, including orders to mobilize hundreds of thousands of troops and planned “sham referendums” in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine.

“What President Putin has chosen this week, when most of the world is gathering at the United Nations to add fuel to the fire he has ignited, demonstrates his utter disdain and contempt for the UN Charter, the UN General Assembly and this Council,” Blinken said. .

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was absent from the room for reasons other than his own remarks, in which he deflected widespread international condemnation and again blamed Kyiv for Moscow’s invasion. Several officials have asked the senior Russian diplomat to leave the room because he doesn’t want to hear condemnation.

A senior US State Department official told reporters on Thursday that at the meeting, “Russia really felt the hot breath of world public opinion.”

“I don’t think anyone in that room across from the Security Council, from (Chinese Foreign Minister) Wang Yi to Tony Blinken, has given Vladimir Putin or Lavrov any comfort. Everyone said that this war must end,” the official said. said.

The official noted that Lavrov “appeared only two minutes before his speech – he made one of his henchmen listen to how much they listened – and then he left, as you know, a minute and a half after the speech.”

They said the Russian official who sat in the hall for most of the meeting – Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin – and his team “were stone-faced the whole time.”

However, “faces of disbelief were all around the table when (Lavrov) launched a retrial in 2014, calling Ukrainians Nazis and doing the classic mirror image of Putin, blaming the rest of the world for everything Russia itself does. including atrocities and human rights violations, I mean it was just Alice Through the Looking Glass, they said.

Blinken and others, including UN Secretary-General António Guterres, highlighted the atrocities uncovered in Ukraine, the global implications of the war for things like food security, and called on Russia to stop rattling the nuclear saber.

A senior US diplomat said Vladimir Putin’s threat to use “every weapon system available” to Russia is “all the more threatening given Russia’s intention to annex large swaths of Ukraine in the coming days.”

“When this is completed, we can expect President Putin to declare any Ukrainian effort to liberate this land an attack on so-called Russian territory,” Blinken explained. “This is from a country that joined the other permanent members of the Security Council here in January of this year by signing a statement confirming, quote, that “a nuclear war cannot be won and can never be waged.” ‘Another example of how Russia violates its obligations to this body, and another reason why today no one should take Russia at its word.

“Every member of the Council must make it clear that these reckless nuclear threats must be stopped immediately,” he said.

Blinken said Russia’s efforts to annex additional Ukrainian territories — which US officials say is the expected next step after referendums called this week by Russia-backed leaders of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, Zaporozhye and Kherson — are “another dangerous escalation and abandonment of diplomacy.”

“This is even more worrisome when combined with the filtration operations that Russian forces are conducting in parts of Ukraine that they control,” Blinken said. “This is a diabolical strategy: forcibly evict hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, replace them with Russians, announce a vote and manipulate the results to show almost unanimous support for joining the Russian Federation. Directly from the Crimean play.

Putin can call on as many troops as he wants, but Russia can't train or support them

He again called for accountability for crimes uncovered in previously Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, such as Bucha, Irpen, Izyum, where mass graves were found and survivors spoke of acts of torture.

“These are not the actions of illegal units, they correspond to a clear pattern in the territory controlled by Russian troops,” Blinken said. “This is one of the many reasons why we are supporting a range of national and international efforts to collect and examine the growing body of evidence of war crimes in Ukraine.”

Blinken reiterated that the United States would continue to support Ukraine and urged others to do the same.

“President Putin makes his choice. Now all our countries must make their choice. Tell President Putin to stop the horror he started. Tell him to stop putting his interests above the interests of the rest of the world, including his own.” Tell him to stop slandering this Council and everything he stands for,” Blinken said.

“One man chose this war. And one person can put an end to it,” he said. “Because if Russia stops fighting, the war will end. If Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine will end.”

This story has been updated with additional details.

Jenny Hansler of CNN contributed to this report.

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