The United States and Russia clashed on Monday over the situation in Ukraine with harsh exchanges during a UN Security Council meeting after Russia failed to cancel it by vote. Instead, the meeting went ahead with 10 votes in favor out of 15.
The meeting was at the request of the U.S., which claimed that the deployment of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, and some measures being taken by Russia, suggested an imminent invasion.
U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield called the presence of 100,000 troops along Ukraine’s borders “the largest mobilization” in Europe in decades.
She added, according to Fox News, “And as we speak Russia is sending even more forces and arms to join them. Russia has already used more than 2,000 rail cars to bring troops and weaponry from across Russia to the Ukrainian border.”
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported that Russian Ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, accused the Biden administration of deliberately stoking tensions, generating hysteria, and misleading the international community with baseless accusations.
“You are almost pulling for this,” he said, turning his gaze to Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield. “You want it to happen. You’re waiting for it to happen as if you want to make your words become a reality.”
Russia has repeatedly denied that it poses a threat to Ukraine while demanding that Kyiv will not join the NATO alliance and that the U.S. and allies will not establish new military bases in former Soviet countries.
U.S. President Joe Biden warned again in a statement Monday that Russia would face harsh retaliation unless Moscow showed openness to a diplomatic solution.
“If Russia is sincere about addressing our respective security concerns through dialogue, the United States and our Allies and partners will continue to engage in good faith,” Biden said. “If instead Russia chooses to walk away from diplomacy and attack Ukraine, Russia will bear the responsibility, and it will face swift and severe consequences.”
Ukraine’s representative, Sergiy Kyslytsya, assured the Security Council that “Ukraine will not give in to threats aimed at weakening Ukraine, undermining its economic and financial stability and inciting public frustration.
“This will not happen and the Kremlin must remember that Ukraine is ready to defend itself,” he said. “At the same [time] we support the need to keep diplomatic channels with Russia open.
“If Russia has any questions for Ukraine it is better to meet and talk, not to bring troops to the Ukrainian borders and intimidate Ukrainian people,” Kyslytsya added, according to Fox News.