United Nations (Associated Press) – The US ambassador to the United Nations said Friday that there should be no doubt that Russia intends to break up Ukraine and “dissolve it from the map of the whole world.”
Linda Thomas Greenfield told the UN Security Council that the US is seeing increasing indications that Russia is laying the groundwork for trying to annex all of Ukraine’s eastern regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and southern Zaporizhia regions, including by establishing “illegal”. Acting officials in Russia-controlled areas, with the aim of holding sham referendums or decree to join Russia.”
She said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov “even stated that this is Russia’s war goal.”
Lavrov told an Arab summit in Cairo on Sunday that Moscow’s ultimate goal in Ukraine is to liberate its people from its “unacceptable regime.”
In a clear indication that Moscow’s war aims extend beyond Ukraine’s Donbass industrial region in the east that includes Donetsk and Luhansk, Lavrov said: “We will certainly help the Ukrainian people get rid of the regime, which is absolutely anti-people and anti-historical.”
“The de-Nazification and disarmament of Ukraine will be fully implemented,” Russian Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Dmitry Polyansky told the Security Council on Friday.
“There should be no threat from this point to the Donbass, nor to Russia, nor to the liberated Ukrainian lands where for the first time in many years people can finally feel that they can live the way they want,” he said.
Polyansky also warned Western nations that supply long-range artillery and MLRS surface-to-surface missiles that they are shifting the “Temporary Security Line” further westward, “thus further clarifying the aims and objectives of our own military operation.”
Thomas Greenfield chased countries that say “the security of one country should not come at the expense of another,” questioning what they call Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It did not name any country, but this is a view that has been repeatedly reiterated by China, including on Friday by its deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Jing Shuang.
He told the council: “Putting the security of the individual above the security of others, trying to strengthen the military blocs, and establishing absolute superiority… will only lead to conflict and confrontation, dividing the international community and making itself less secure.”
The US ambassador also chased after countries calling on all countries to adopt diplomacy without naming Russia, saying: “Let’s be clear: Russia’s continued actions are an obstacle to resolving this crisis.” Again no country is mentioned but a large number of countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East are following this approach.
Thomas Greenfield cited evidence of mounting atrocities including the reported bombing of schools and hospitals, the “killing of aid workers and journalists, the targeting of civilians trying to flee, and the brutal execution-style killing of those going about their daily business in Bucha, a suburb of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv where local authorities said: Hundreds of people were killed during its occupation by Russian forces.
She said there was evidence that Russian forces had “interrogated, forcibly detained and deported an estimated hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens, including children – tearing them from their homes and sending them to remote areas in the east”.
Nearly two million Ukrainian refugees have been sent to Russia, according to Ukrainian and Russian officials. Ukraine depicts these flights as forced transfers into enemy territory, which is a war crime. Russia calls them humanitarian evacuations of war victims who already speak Russian and are grateful for a new home.
A recent Associated Press investigation based on dozens of interviews found that while the situation is more accurate than Ukrainians suggest, many refugees are indeed forced to embark on a surreal journey to Russia, where they have been subjected along the way to human rights abuses, stripped of documents. They were left confused and lost about their whereabouts. Those who leave go through a series of what are known as filtering points, where treatment ranges from questioning and strip searches to being brushed aside and never seen again.
“The United Nations has information that officials from the Russian presidential administration are overseeing and coordinating the nomination processes,” Thomas Greenfield told the council.
Polyansky responded that despite Ukraine’s efforts to intimidate its citizens, “people choose the country they trust” – Russia.
He warned that the heavy weapons the West poured on Ukraine “will move to Europe” because of what he claimed is “the burgeoning corruption between the political and military leadership of Ukraine.”
Polyansky said Western weapons “prolong the suffering and increase the suffering of the Ukrainian people.”
Addressing the Western ambassadors, he said: “The goals of our special military operation will be achieved in both cases, whatever fuel you pour into the fire in the form of weapons.”