US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on Friday that there should be no doubt that Russia wants to dismantle Ukraine “and remove it completely from the world map”.
Speaking to the UN Security Council, the ambassador said the US has noticed signs that Russia is preparing to try to annex all of Ukraine’s eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as the southern regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhya.
She said Moscow’s attempt to do this could include installing “illegitimate proxy officers in Russian-occupied territories for the purpose of holding mock referendums or issuing a decree to join Russia”.
Thomas-Greenfield said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov “has even stated that this is Russia’s war target”.
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Lavrov had said at an Arab summit in Cairo on Sunday that Moscow’s overarching mission in Ukraine is to free its people from its “unacceptable regime.”
“We will certainly help the Ukrainian people get rid of the regime, which is absolutely anti-people and anti-historic,” said Lavrov, who seemed to suggest that Russia’s goals for the war go beyond the industrial Donbas- region of Ukraine in the east, which consists of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Russian Deputy UN Ambassador Dmitry Polyansky told the Security Council on Friday that “the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine will be fully implemented.”
“From this stage there should be no more threat to Donbas, nor to Russia, nor to the liberated Ukrainian territories where, for the first time in years, people finally feel that they can live the way they want,” he said. .
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Polyansky also issued a warning to Western countries supplying Ukraine with long-range artillery and MLRS missiles, saying they were moving “the provisional security line” further west.
“And thereby further clarifying the goals and objectives of our special military operation,” he said.
Thomas-Greenfield also highlighted evidence of increased atrocities caused by the war in Russia at the meeting.
She said this includes the reported bombings of schools and hospitals, the “murder of aid workers and journalists, the assault on civilians trying to flee, the brutal execution-style murder of those going about their daily business in Bucha,” a Kiev suburb.
The ambassador said there are indications that Russian forces have “interrogated, forcibly detained, deported, torn them from their homes and sent them to remote regions in the east” an estimated hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian civilians.
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Nearly two million Ukrainian refugees have moved to Russia, according to both Ukrainian and Russian officials. Ukraine claims the refugees were forced to move into enemy territory, which is considered a war crime. But Russia views the trips as humanitarian evacuations of war victims who are grateful for a new place to call home.
“The United Nations has information that officials of the Russian presidential government are overseeing and coordinating filtration operations,” Thomas-Greenfield told the council.
However, Polyansky said Ukrainians “choose the country they trust.”
He claimed that the heavy artillery delivered to Ukraine “will spill over to Europe” because of “the thriving corruption under Ukraine’s political and military leadership”.
Polyansky said Western weapons “drag away the pain and increase the suffering of the Ukrainian people”.
He told Western ambassadors: “The goals of our special military operation will be achieved no matter how much fuel you throw into the fire in the form of weapons.”
The The Bharat Express News contributed to this report.