UN Security Council to meet on Russia-Ukraine tensions

The official added that the US delegation expects China, which has moved closer to Russia in general amid fraught tensions with the US, to express concerns about respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.

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UNITED NATIONS: The United States has called for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Monday to address the buildup of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border.

Russia was quick to react, denouncing the move as a “clear P R stunt” orchestrated by the United States, and signaled Moscow’s intent to derail it. On their part, American officials expressed confidence that the meeting, planned to be broadcast live on Monday, would proceed.

In Washington, a senior Biden administration official told reporters the US wants to get UN members on the record but said that no concrete measures or a joint statement are expected to come out of the 15-member Council meeting.

Russia, as one of five permanent members of the council, holds the power to veto such measures. The other permanent members are the US, France, the United Kingdom and China.

There are 10 non-permanent members of the council that are elected to two-year terms and procedure dictates that nine members must vote in the affirmative for an agenda item to proceed.

The official claimed that the US has the necessary votes, saying that the session will provide an opportunity for “preventive diplomacy,” and to allow “all of the world’s powers to be on the record about whether they see a path forward for diplomacy or whether they would prefer to see a path towards conflict.”

The official added that the US delegation expects China, which has moved closer to Russia in general amid fraught tensions with the US, to express concerns about respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The Americans and their NATO and Western allies see the buildup as a prelude to a possible invasion, which they call a violation of core UN principles that have helped avoid major global armed conflicts for more than seven decades.

Russia has said it has no intention to invade Ukraine but wants promises that its neighbor will never join NATO and that the Western alliance will pull forces from Eastern Europe, which the Russians call a threat to their security.

Moscow’s objection to the Security Council meeting came from Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russian deputy permanent representative at the United Nations, who in a Twitter posting ridiculed the idea, which was announced Thursday by the American ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

“I can’t recall another occasion when an SC (Security Council) member proposed to discuss its baseless allegations and assumptions as a threat to international order from someone else,” he wrote.

“Hopefully fellow UNSC members will not support this clear P.R. stunt shameful for the reputation of UN Security Council.”

Meanwhile, China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun, whose country has close ties to Russia, indicated Beijing supports Moscow in opposing a council meeting.

“Both sides have shown willingness to continue their negotiations,” he told several reporters. “Let them settle the differences through dialogue, through negotiations.”

“Russia has said clearly they have no intention to have a war” and the Security Council should “help to deescalate the situation instead of adding fuel to the fire,” Zhang said.

The U.N. Security Council has met dozens of times over the crisis in Ukraine since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. It is unable to take any action as Russia has veto power.

“As we continue our relentless pursuit of diplomacy to de-escalate tensions in the face of this serious threat to European and global peace and security, the UN Security Council is a crucial venue for diplomacy,” US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said.

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