Bombs hit Ukrainian towns as Russian economy collapses
“Now it’s time to act, it’s time to help Ukraine,” he said. “He is now paying the ultimate price for his freedom and his safety and the world. If Ukraine does not survive, international peace will not survive. If Ukraine does not survive, the United Nations will not survive, have no illusions.
UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia of Russia hit back with a litany of allegations against Ukraine and accused it of failing to reach a 2015 peace deal over the disputed Donbass region, known under the name of Minsk agreements.
“The root of the current crisis lies in the actions of Ukraine itself,” he said. “For many years he sabotaged and flouted his direct obligations under the Minsk package of measures.”
He said Ukraine’s refusal to negotiate with Donbass separatists and start a process for the regions to gain more autonomy from the central government in Kyiv has led to the escalation. The area was the scene of intense fighting in 2014 and 2015 and occasional shelling, sniper attacks and other violence became part of daily life along a front line that looked like a World War I battlefield with trenches and bombarded towns.
Prior to Russia’s invasion, around 14,000 people had been killed in the Donbass conflict and 2 million people were forced from their homes, around 700,000 fled to safety in Ukraine and the rest in Russia. The regions are occupied by many ethnic Russians, who make up about 17% of Ukraine’s total population of 44 million people.
Russia accuses Ukraine of stepping up the fight in recent months and planning to retake the regions through a blitzkrieg operation.
“Ukrainian authorities, who have recently been actively armed and incited by a number of states, mistakenly believed that with the indulgence of Western patrons and sponsors, they would be able to solve the problems of Donbass militarily,” he said. said the Russian ambassador. .
He said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was intended to end the war in Donbass and protect ethnic Russians there.
“The worsening suffering of people in Donbass is something that has left Western sponsors unmoved in recent years,” he said. “There was no empathy, no compassion for the people of Donbass and Luhansk; it seems like those 4 million just don’t exist for them.
“The purpose of this special operation is to protect people who for eight years have been tormented and genocidated by the kyiv regime and for this purpose it is necessary to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine,” he said. he declares.
Russia accuses far-right neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine of using the 2014 Maidan protests to overthrow the government of Viktor Yanukovych, a pro-Russian president who angered many Ukrainians by canceling a deal to bring his EU country. Experts say there is clear evidence that neo-Nazi groups played a key role in the Maidan revolution.
Experts, however, say the violence in the Donbass does not constitute genocide, as Russia accuses.
In addition, Nebenzia said that Russia could not sit back and not act because Zelenskyy had spoken on February 18 at the Munich Security Conference, an annual meeting on geopolitics, about wanting to do so again. Ukraine a nuclear power.
“This statement, I remind you, was greeted with applause from the participants in this conference,” he said.
He also called Ukraine’s desire to join NATO a “red line” for Russia and a threat to its security.
“The deployment of NATO infrastructure in this country would force us to adopt measures in response and that has put us on the brink of conflict,” he said.
“Our Western colleagues shamelessly flooded the country with weapons, sent instructors to the country and effectively incited the Ukrainians” to fight for Donbass, he accused. “Thus, Western countries have created a bubble that can only burst.”
He accused the West of supporting a coup against Yanukovych, of opening investigations into atrocities committed during the uprising “under the carpet” and of allowing Ukraine after the Maidan revolution to persecute the pro-Russian opposition, including by shutting down opposition television channels and imprisoning opposition politicians.
“The country was flooded with weapons which were then directed against peaceful civilians in Donbass,” he said. “The responsibility for what is happening right now lies with the current Ukrainian leadership as well as their Western colleagues.”
During the current war, he accused Ukraine of spreading “indiscriminate bombing lies” and using civilians “as human shields” by placing military equipment in residential areas. He called Zelensky’s decisions to release prisoners to help in the fight against Russia and the distribution of 25,000 automatic rifles to the general public in Kyiv as manifestations of “the Kyiv regime’s recklessness”.
He said so-called civilian land defenders fired on a car, killing a couple and their daughter.