US President Joseph Biden Monday dubbed the meeting held by the United Nations Security Council to discuss the Ukraine crisis, although no specific decision has been reached.
It was a critical step in rallying the world, Biden said after the meeting was adjourned following over two hours of debate. Relations between Russia and the West are at their lowest since the Cold War.
Russia has deployed over 100,000 troops and heavy equipment and weaponry on three sides of Ukraine, including in Russian-annexed Crimea and in Belarus, Kyiv's northern neighbor and a close Kremlin ally.
A vote from the Security Council's 15 member states was mooted, but Russia and China opposed it, while three countries abstained and ten others voted to move move forward.
This is not about rhetoric. It's not about 'U.S. and Russia.' What this is about is the peace and security of one of our member states, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said as she accused Russia of the largest mobilization of troops in Europe in decades.
If Russia further invades Ukraine, none of us will be able to say we didn't see it coming, and the consequences will be horrific, she added.
Meanwhile, Russia's envoy Vassily Nebenzia denied the Kremlin was planning to attack the former Soviet state and told the Security Council there was no proof confirming such a serious accusation whatsoever.
He insisted troop movements within Russia's borders were a perfectly normal domestic issue, and denied the number of troops deployed was anywhere near the figures claimed by the US and other Western allies, who were the ones whipping up tensions.
Nebenzia stressed the US and the other NATO powers were actually eagerly expecting for a war to happen.
Ukraine, which is not a Security Council member, urged Russia to respect its sovereign right to choose which countries it partners with. Ukraine will not bow 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, Ukrainian Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya told the council.
China was the only country to back Russia's stance. Ambassador Zhang Jun said they opposed microphone diplomacy of public confrontation and believed the open discussion of the issue would only fuel tensions.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is to confer with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Tuesday, while British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to speak to Russian President Vladimir Putin soime time this week, after the UK said it would deploy troops to protect NATO allies if Russia invaded Ukraine.
The United States and Britain Sunday warned of new and devastating economic sanctions against Russia if Moscow went ahead with an invasion. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said her country would unveil sanctions legislation aimed at a much wider variety of Russian economic targets. There will be nowhere to hide for Putin's oligarchs, Truss said. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg Sunday welcomed the increased military support while also endorsing London's diplomatic initiative.
Canada Sunday announced the temporary repatriation of all non-essential employees from its Kyiv embassy, while Defense Minister Anita Anand said Canadian forces in Ukraine were protectively being moved west of the Dnieper river.
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