International

US ambassador to UN calls Putin’s peacekeeping forces ‘nonsense’

Greg Nash

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (U.N.) Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Monday said Russian President Vladimir Putin sending peacekeepers to Ukraine’s separatist regions was “nonsense” as officials warn Kyiv continues to be on the brink of a possible invasion. 

During an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting held at the request of Ukraine, the U.S. and six other countries, Thomas-Greenfield referenced Putin’s announcement that he would recognize the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic as independent.

“He has since announced that he will place Russian troops in these regions. He calls them peacekeepers,” Thomas-Greenfield said of the Russian president. “This is nonsense. We know what they really are.”

“In doing so, he has put before the world a choice. We must meet the moment, and we must not look away,” she added. “History tells us that looking the other way, in the face of such hostility, will be a far more costly path.”

The meeting was requested by Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s U.N. ambassador, who asserted that Putin’s actions were in violation of the U.N. charter and a 2014 U.N. General Assembly resolution.

Earlier on Monday, Putin announced that he would send forces to the two separatist regions, though it was not immediately clear from reports if troops would enter areas outside those controlled by separatists.

In response, Western leaders condemned Russia’s decision as a violation of international law, and President Biden announced that he would sign an executive order prohibiting new U.S. investment, trade and financing from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Russia has amassed a military buildup of as many as 190,000 troops near Ukraine, and the U.S. has warned that an invasion could take place at any time. 

Tags Joe Biden Linda Thomas-Greenfield Vladimir Putin

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