UNITED NATIONS —
Russia called an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council Friday and accused Kyiv and the West of destabilizing Ukraine. Western nations responded by dismissing Moscow’s claims as hypocritical lies.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin called the meeting to protest Ukraine’s operation in the east to clear buildings of pro-Russian separatists.
Churkin told reporters ahead of the session that Kyiv had begun a “crazy punitive operation” in the east, using heavy weapons and air power which he said was a “despicable act of violence” leading Ukraine “into catastrophe.”
In the Security Council he was equally forceful, telling his counterparts that the West must “stop its destructive policy” in Ukraine, and he directly accused the United States and European Union of supporting and encouraging the instability.
Western diplomats fired back, calling Russian rhetoric hypocritical, cynical and disingenuous. They said Ukraine had a right to self-defense and to restore law and order.
U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power dismissed American involvement. She said Russia is the one that has amassed thousands of troops on Ukraine’s border and is stirring instability.
“There is horrible violence in eastern Ukraine and that violence is coming - as it has been for weeks now -- from Russian-directed agents and paramilitaries and their associates,” said Power.
She said Kyiv has shown great restraint and sought dialogue even as Russia annexed part of Ukraine's territory, but that Russia has only “chosen to pursue more territory," adding “Alongside all of this action, we have heard the Russian Federation building its case for intervention -- outright intervention.”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon repeated his call Friday for de-escalation of tensions and a return to the Geneva Agreement of April 17, meant to defuse the situation. Mr. Ban is sending his political chief, Jeffrey Feltman, to Moscow and Kyiv next week to speak to the parties.