Blinken condemns Russian strikes killing Ukrainian civilians

Associated Press/Richard Drew
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken addresses the United Nations Security Council, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022. U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield is seated, background left.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned Russia for killing Ukrainian civilians in its strikes around the country, questioning whether the nation should be allowed to remain on the United Nations Human Rights Council.

In Blinken’s Tuesday speech before the council, he pointed to attacks on “civilian buses, cars, even ambulances” in attacks the U.N. says have killed at least 100 people.

“Reports of Russia’s human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law are mounting by the hour,” Blinken said.

“Russian strikes are hitting schools, hospitals, residential buildings, are destroying critical infrastructure, which provides millions of people across Ukraine with drinking water [and] gas to keep them from freezing to death.” 

U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet on Monday said figures on casualties are likely to tick “considerably higher” along with estimates of those wounded, which now sits at 304.

Blinken characterized Russia’s invasion as an “unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine, violating international law, flouting the core principles of international peace and security and creating a human rights and humanitarian crisis.”

But he said the abuses are not just limited to Ukraine, noting that Russian authorities have arrested thousands of protesters along with journalists covering the demonstrations.

“[One] can reasonably ask whether a U.N. member state that tries to take over another U.N. member state while committing horrific human rights abuses and causing massive humanitarian suffering should be allowed to remain on this council,” Blinken said.

“These are the human rights abuses this council was created to stop. If we cannot come together now, when will we come together?”

Tags Antony Blinken UN Human Rights Council
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