Ukraine's U.N. ambassador tells Russian counterpart war criminals skip purgatory, 'go straight to hell'

During an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday night, Ukraine's ambassador had a blunt message for his Russian counterpart.

"There is no purgatory for war criminals," Ukraine's Sergiy Kyslytsya told Russia's Vassily Nebenzia. "They go straight to hell, ambassador."

The emergency meeting was called at the request of Ukraine, and was underway when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he had authorized a "special military operation" in Ukraine. Soon after, journalists and Ukrainian citizens started reporting that they heard explosions in Kyiv.

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The Security Council presidency rotates, and it's now held by Nebenzia. Kyslytsya said that since only peace-loving states are supposed to be admitted to the Security Council, Nebenzia should relinquish his duties, and he also demanded Nebenzia tell Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to "stop the aggression" against Ukraine.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Putin "delivered a message of war in total disdain for the responsibility for this council. This is a grave emergency. The council will need to act and we will put a resolution on the table tomorrow." Nebenzia denied that a war is going on, saying, "this is called a special military operation in Donbas." Donbas is the area of eastern Ukraine that is home to two separatist regions — the Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic — that Putin now recognizes as independent states.

You can watch the full U.N. Security Council meeting below.

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.