UN Security Council meets to discuss crisis in Ukraine | The United Nations

The UN Security Council meets on Monday to discuss the Ukraine crisis, with Washington pledging to hold Moscow to account as it works with NATO allies to tighten sanctions if Russia invades its neighbor .

Fears of an imminent incursion have grown in recent days, despite denials from Moscow and calls from the Ukrainian president to avoid sowing “panic” in the face of the massive reinforcement of the Russian army on the border.

The United States and Britain announced “devastating” new economic sanctions against Russia on Sunday, as Washington and its allies step up efforts to deter any invasion of Ukraine.

As tensions soar, the United States has said it is ready to push back against any “disinformation” presented by Moscow at what is expected to be one of the most closely watched UN sessions in years.

Russia will likely try on Monday to prevent the 15-member council from holding its US-requested meeting, “but the security council is unified. Our voices are united in calling on the Russians to explain themselves,” Washington’s UN envoy Linda Thomas-Greenfield told ABC News.

“We are going to come into the room ready to listen to them, but we are not going to be distracted by their propaganda,” she said on Sunday. “And we’re going to be ready to respond to any misinformation they try to spread at this meeting.”

Amid a flurry of diplomatic contacts, US Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland told CBS that a proposal on security issues presented last week by the US and NATO to Russia could to have aroused interest in Moscow.

The proposal includes the likelihood of further talks this week between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, meanwhile, took a tough stance, saying it was crucial that Washington send a strong message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that any aggression against Ukraine would have a cost. very high.

“We can’t have a moment in Munich again,” Sen. Bob Menendez said on CNN. “Putin will not stop at Ukraine.”

He said some sanctions could be imposed for actions Russia has already taken in Ukraine, including cyberattacks, but there would be “devastating sanctions that would ultimately crush Russia” if Moscow invaded.

Nuland said the White House was working closely with the Senate and that any sanctions measures would be “very well aligned” with those coming from European allies.

Putin “will feel it keenly”, she said.

In London, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Britain would unveil sanctions legislation targeting “a much wider variety” of Russian economic targets. “There will be nowhere for Putin’s oligarchs to hide,” Truss told Sky News.

Analysts say a range of sanctions hitting Russian banks and financial institutions would not only affect daily life across Russia, but could also upend major economies in Europe and elsewhere.

Western leaders are pursuing a two-pronged approach, stepping up military assistance to Ukraine but also undertaking a full-court diplomatic effort to defuse the crisis.

Britain is preparing to offer NATO a “major” deployment of troops, weapons, warships and jet planes, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Saturday. He is expected to meet with Putin next week.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Sunday hailed the increased military support while endorsing London’s diplomatic initiative.

Relations between Russia and the West are at their lowest since the Cold War, but Russia has repeatedly denied it poses a threat to the former Soviet republic and said on Sunday it wants “respectful” relations. with the United States.

“We want good, equal and mutually respectful relations with the United States, as with all countries in the world,” Lavrov told Russian television.

Citing NATO’s presence near its border, Russia presented security demands to Washington and the US-led military alliance.

They include a guarantee that NATO will not admit new members, especially Ukraine, and that the United States will not establish new military bases in ex-Soviet countries.

In the face of Russia’s rise, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the West to moderate the rhetoric.

The call, from a country also eager for Western support — especially since Moscow seized Crimea in 2014 and began fueling a deadly separatist conflict in the east of the country — has raised eyebrows in Washington.

Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, tried to reassure Americans on Sunday, telling CBS that Ukraine was “grateful to the United States,” but after eight years of living under threat Russian constant, “we cannot afford to panic”. ”.

Kyiv Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged Russia in a tweet to withdraw forces and “continue diplomatic engagement” if it is “serious” to defuse tensions.

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