US, Russia trade accusations as UN Security Council debates Ukraine crisis

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US, Russia trade accusations as UN Security Council debates Ukraine crisis

The U.S. is calling Russia’s actions “an outrageous violation”, and France is urging Moscow to release the Ukrainian sailors and vessels it seized. 

Those calls coming during an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council after Russia fired on, stormed and then seized three Ukrainian naval vessels. 

CGTN’s Liling Tan has more from the United Nations.

Russia has been singled out by a majority of western nations at the Security Council after Russian special forces opened fire at, stormed and then seized Ukrainian vessels off the coast of Crimea Sunday.

Russia annexed Crimea back in 2014, and the latest move in the Black Sea is viewed as a major escalation in a situation dating back four years.

In Monday’s emergency meeting, Moscow defended its right to protect its waters off the peninsula, while Ukraine, the U.S. and EU members states contested the claim and called the move an act of Russian aggression.

“We strongly support Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty,” said U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley. “It is with deep concern that we view this outrageous violation.”

The European Union members on the Security Council — France, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom — earlier issued a joint statement expressing grave concern over the escalation and reconfirmed their recognition of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

They called on Russia to restore freedom of passage at the Kerch Strait and to ensure unhindered access to Ukrainian ports in the Azov Sea.

The EU stance of solidarity echoes that of European Council President Donald Tusk who condemned Russia’s seizure of the Ukrainian navy vessels and said Europe will stand united in support of Ukraine.

But at the Security Council in New York, it’s unlikely that any major or punitive outcome will emerge as the Security Council’s hands have been tied over the conflict and will likely remain so over this latest escalation. 

That’s because Russia is a permanent member of the Council, and can block any proposed action with its veto power.

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