Dozens of UN Delegates Take Action When Russian Foreign Minister Begins Speaking
In a display to show the extent to which Russia has become a pariah in the world community, diplomats at the Human Rights Council of the United Nations walked out as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov addressed the body.
About 100 people representing 40 nations left the hall in Geneva, Switzerland, where they were gathered, according to Reuters.
Lavrov appeared by video, saying that he could not attend in person because of a ban against Russian-owned planes flying through European Union member countries’ airspace.
HRC members walk out once Lavrov’s video began to play in the session of the Council. Enough of exposure to the deranged lunacy of war criminals. We will listen to you at International Tribunal for War Crimes of Putin’s Regime pic.twitter.com/neDqBYccxk
— Sergiy Kyslytsya (@SergiyKyslytsya) March 1, 2022
“HRC members walk out once Lavrov’s video began to play in the session of the Council. Enough of exposure to the deranged lunacy of war criminals. We will listen to you at International Tribunal for War Crimes of Putin’s Regime,” Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s representative to the U.N. tweeted.
Lavrov accused the EU of taking part in a “Russophobic frenzy” by giving military aid to Ukraine while Russia was seeking to overthrow its government.
Yevheniia Filipenko, Ukraine’s representative on the Human Rights Council, called the walkout “a remarkable show of support for Ukrainians who are fighting for their independence.”
Filipenko said Russia had conducted “massive destruction to civilian infrastructure” in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.
“The maternity wards are being attacked, civilian residential buildings are being bombed,” she said.
In a video address to the Conference on Disarmament, also meeting in Geneva, Lavrov claimed the world needs to be protected from the dangers posed by Ukraine, according to Reuters.
“Today the dangers that (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelenskyy’s regime pose for neighboring countries and international security in general have increased substantially after the authorities set up in Kyiv have embarked upon dangerous games related to plans to acquire their own nuclear weapons,” he said as diplomats walked out on that address as well.
“Ukraine still has Soviet nuclear technologies and the means of delivery of such weapons. We cannot fail to respond to this real danger,” he said.
On the ground, the battle for Ukraine’s survival grew desperate as a massive convoy converged on Kyiv. Russia’s Defense Ministry warned that it was targeting sites in Kyiv and urged civilians to flee, according to The New York Times.
A 40-mile Russian military convoy is approaching the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, satellite images have shown https://t.co/dHk73QOHTI
— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 1, 2022
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the time has come to dig in.
“Kharkiv and Kyiv are currently the most important targets for Russia. Terror is meant to break us. To break our resistance. They are heading to our capital, as well as to Kharkiv,” he said in a Facebook message, according to CNN.
“Therefore, the defense of the capital today is the key priority for the state,” Zelenskyy said. “Kyiv is special. If we protect Kyiv, we will protect the state. This is the heart of our country. And it must keep beating. And it will keep beating, so that life triumphs.”
He said the rocket attack that devastated central Kharkiv was “terror against the city, this is terror against Kharkiv, terror against Ukraine.”
“There was no military target on the square. The rocket to the central square is outright, undisguised terror. No one will forgive. Nobody will forget. This strike on Kharkiv is a war crime.”
⚡️ Russian forces have struck Independence Square in central Kharkiv with a powerful explosion.
According to a video of the event, the blast detonated right in front of the headquarters of the Kharkiv Oblast government.
Video: Ukraine NOW/Telegram pic.twitter.com/poZjYcjRjD
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) March 1, 2022
“We call on all countries of the world to respond immediately and effectively to this criminal tactic of the aggressor and to declare that Russia is committing state terrorism. We demand full responsibility for terrorists in international courts,” Zelenskyy said.
Lithuania President Gitanas Nausėda said all of Europe has a stake in the war.
“No country in the European Union, in Europe can feel safe right now. Yes, Ukraine is target number one, but if we cannot support Ukraine, if Ukraine will fall — be sure that we’ll be next, that Russia will stay at our doors,” Nausėda said, according to CNN.
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