Tuesday, September 27, 2022

US pledges to put Russia on the defensive at UN Security Council

WASHINGTON – The US worked Sunday to increase diplomatic and financial pressure on Russia over Ukraine, pledging to put Moscow on the defensive at the UN Security Council as lawmakers on Capitol Hill said they would reach an agreement on the “mother of all sanctions”. were close to.

The US ambassador to the United Nations said the Security Council would put strong pressure on Russia in Monday’s session to discuss the number of troops Ukraine has and fears it is planning an offensive.

“Our voices stand united in asking the Russians to explain themselves,” Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said of America and other council members on ABC’s “This Week.” “We’re going to go into the room ready to hear them, but we’re not going to be distracted by their hype.”

Ukraine’s ambassador to the US, Oksana Markova, warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin is bent on “attacking democracy”, not just one country. It is a case that some senior foreign policy figures have urged President Joe Biden to make, including on the Security Council.

“If Ukraine is further attacked by Russia, of course they will not stop in Ukraine,” Markova said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Given Russia’s veto power and its relations with others in the Council, including China, any formal action by the Security Council is highly unlikely. But the US’s mention of building Russia’s military to the most powerful body of the United Nations gives both sides a platform in their fight for global opinion.

Russia’s gathering of an estimated 100,000 troops near the border with Ukraine has sent a stern warning from the West that Moscow intends to invade. Russia is demanding that NATO never allow Ukraine to join the alliance, and has promised to halt the deployment of NATO weapons near Russian borders and withdraw its forces from Eastern Europe. NATO and the US call these demands impossible.

Russia’s Security Council chief Nikolai Petrushev on Sunday dismissed Western warnings about an invasion.

“At the moment, they are saying that Russia threatens Ukraine – this is completely ridiculous,” he was quoted as saying by state news agency Tass. “We don’t want war and we don’t need it at all.”

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmitro Kuleba, protested on Twitter, saying: “If Russian officials are serious when they say they don’t want a new war, Russia should continue diplomatic engagement and withdraw military forces “

The United States and European countries say a Russian invasion could result in heavy sanctions.

On Sunday, Sen. Bob Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that in the event of an attack, lawmakers want Russia to face the “mother of all sanctions”. This includes actions against Russian banks that could seriously undermine the Russian economy and increase lethal aid to Ukraine’s military.

The sanctions in question will apparently be much stronger than those imposed after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Those punishments have been seen as ineffective.

Menendez also raised the possibility of pre-determining certain penalties, before any attack.

“There are some sanctions that could actually come to the fore, as Russia has already done — cyber attacks on Ukraine, false flag operations, attempts to undermine the Ukrainian government internally,” the New Jersey Democrat said on CNN.

The desire to hit Russia hard financially over its moves on Ukraine has been a rare area of ​​bipartisan agreement in Congress. But Republicans and Democrats are divided over the timing of any new sanctions package.

Many GOP members are pushing the US to impose harsher punishments immediately rather than waiting for Russia to send new troops to Ukraine. The Biden administration and several Democratic lawmakers argue that imposing sanctions now against Putin would remove any impediments to the invasion.

James Risk of Idaho, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN he is “more than cautiously optimistic” that Republicans and Democrats will be able to resolve their differences in time for sanctions.

Russia has long opposed NATO membership of countries that were once part of the Soviet Union or within its sphere of influence as members of the Warsaw Pact.

NATO “has come closer to Ukraine. They also want to drag this country there,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Sunday, although everyone understands that Ukraine is not ready and makes no contribution to strengthening NATO security. Can’t give.”

Ukraine has sought NATO membership for years, but any chance of joining appears remote as the country struggles to find political stability and attack corruption.

Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat and member of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, suggested that supporting Ukraine’s NATO aspirations could accelerate a diplomatic solution to the current crisis.

If Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “decides that future membership, if it is for Ukraine to become one in NATO, and the question of Russian occupation of Ukraine are two things to put on the table, I think we will find a solution.” can move towards,” Durbin said on NBC.

Ukraine has shown no signs of willingness to make concessions on possible coalition membership. It is not clear whether Durbin’s suggestion has widespread support.

Lavrov also underscored Russia’s argument that NATO expansion is a threat, saying the coalition is engaged in aggressive actions outside its member states.

“It’s hard to call it defensive. Don’t forget that they bombed Yugoslavia for almost three months, invaded Libya, violated UN Security Council resolutions, and that’s how they behaved in Afghanistan,” he said.

The US and NATO have formally rejected Russia’s demands about halting NATO expansion, although Washington outlined areas where discussions are possible, hoping there could be a way to avoid war.

Nation World News Desk
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