The US and Russia’s UN ambassadors clashed at the UN Security Council on Monday during a meeting on Ukraine that was called by Washington. Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya said the US was deliberately stoking tensions by claiming Russia is preparing to invade its neighbor.
“They themselves are whipping up tensions and rhetoric and are provoking escalation,” Nebenzya said. “The discussions about a threat of war is provocative in and of itself. You are almost calling for this. You want it to happen. You’re waiting for it to happen.”
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield responded and said Russia was threatening Ukraine’s borders. “The threats of aggression on the border of Ukraine — yes on its border — is provocative. Our recognition of the facts on the ground is not provocative,” she said.
One of the latest US claims about Russia’s military buildup in the region has been disputed by Ukraine. Citing two unnamed Pentagon officials, CNN reported Saturday that the US has seen “indications” Russia has sent blood supplies near Ukraine’s border, but the report was strongly denied by Ukraine.
“This information is not true,” Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said in a statement on Facebook. “Such ‘news’ is an element of information and psychological warfare. The purpose of such information is to spread panic and fear in our society.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov slammed the US media for its reporting on the tensions surrounding Ukraine. “To our dismay, American media have lately been publishing a very large amount of unverified, distorted and deliberately deceitful information about what’s happening in Ukraine and around it,” he said.
Despite their differences, the US and Russia have been continuing a dialogue. The State Department said Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will hold a call on Tuesday.