The top diplomats from Russia and Ukraine were in the same room, briefly, on Thursday at an extraordinary meeting of the United Nations Security Council in New York. "The United States urged Russia to end its impunity. Russia ranted about fighting Nazis. Ukraine insisted it had the right to be free," Politico summarized.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reminded the Security Council members of how Russia's invasion of Ukraine has sharply raised their food and energy costs, and he urged them to hold Russia to account for violating the fundamental precepts of the United Nations. "That President [Vladimir] Putin picked this week, as most of the world gathers at the United Nations, to add fuel to the fire he started shows his utter contempt and disdain for the U.N. Charter, the U.N. General Assembly, and this council," Blinken said.
"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 people." Blinken urged. "One man chose this war. One man can end it. Because if Russia stops fighting, the war ends. If Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine ends."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who entered the chamber for his remarks then left, blamed Ukraine and the West for Russia's invasion. The Kremlin has "no doubt that Ukraine has become a completely totalitarian Nazi-like state," he said, in what Politico calls "a verifiably false depiction of Kyiv's developing Western-style democracy."
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba dismissed Lavrov's "lies" about Ukraine choosing this war. Now that Russia has invaded, though, "every Ukrainian is a weapon ready to defend Ukraine and the principles enshrined in the U.N. Charter. Russia will fail," he said, adding in a shot in at Lavrov's early departure: "Russian diplomats flee almost as quickly as Russian soldiers."
Ultimately, "no one expects the council to act against Russia, since Moscow has veto power as a permanent member," The Associated Press notes. Still, Politico adds, "it was a rare in-person gathering for" Blinken, Lavrov, and Kuleba, and "it forced Russia to say something — even if that something was highly suspect — to defend its full-scale war on its neighbor."