ringing the alarm
During a tense 90-minute emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Monday night, several ambassadors explicitly warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions in Ukraine could quickly escalate to something much bigger.
Kyiv called the emergency meeting after Putin recognized two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine as independent and sent troops there on a "peacekeeping" mission. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., called this "nonsense," and declared that Putin is "testing our international system" and "seeing how far he can push us all. We must meet the moment and must not look the other way."
Barbara Woodward, Britain's representative, said that by "seeking to redraw borders by force, Russia's actions show blatant contempt for international law," and Albania's Ferit Hoxha asked if Russia is willing to send troops to the separatist regions, "who is next?"
Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine's ambassador to the U.N., echoed remarks made earlier by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during an address to the nation. "We are on our own land," Kyslytsya declared. "We are not afraid of anything or anyone, we owe nothing to anyone, and we will not give away anything to anyone. There should be no doubt whatsoever. The international borders of Ukraine are and will remain unchangeable."
Ukraine, Kyslytsya continued, is demanding that Russia "return to the table of negotiations. We condemn the order to deploy additional Russian occupation troops to the territories in Ukraine. We demand immediate and complete verifiable withdrawal of the occupation troops."
The Russian ambassador, Vasily Nebenzya, was just as forceful, accusing the West of "nudging" Ukraine toward a military conflict and "cramming weapons" into the country. He also said the world has forgotten about the nearly 4 million people who live in the separatist regions of Ukraine, and claimed that Russia was protecting them from a supposed "bloodbath" being perpetrated by the Ukrainian government.