“We can’t — we won’t — allow President Putin to get away with it,” Blinken said in comments at Thursday’s meeting, which was held during the UN General Assembly’s high-level week.
The meeting came amid a week of escalating actions by Moscow, including a mobilization order for hundreds of thousands of troops and planned “mock referendums” in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine.
“That President Putin chose this week, as most of the world gathers at the United Nations, to add fuel to the fire he started shows his utter disregard and contempt for the UN Charter, the General Assembly of the UN and this Council,” said Blinken. .
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was absent from the room except for his own remarks, in which he rejected widespread international condemnation and once again blamed Kiev for the invasion of Moscow. Several officials suggested that the top Russian diplomat leave the room because he did not want to hear the convictions.
A senior US State Department official told reporters on Thursday that “Russia really felt the hot breath of world opinion” at the meeting.
“I don’t think there was anyone in that room on the other side of the Security Council, from (Chinese Foreign Minister) Wang Yi to Tony Blinken who gave Vladimir Putin or Lavrov an ounce of comfort. Everyone said this war must end said the official. said.
The official noted that Lavrov “only showed up two minutes before his own speech – he had one of his followers listen, as far as they listened – and then he let you know within a minute and a half.”
They said the Russian official who sat in the room for most of the meeting — Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin — and his team “were faced with stones virtually everywhere.”
“However, there were faces of disbelief all the way around the table when (Lavrov) 2014 started litigating again, calling the Ukrainians Nazis and doing the classic Putin mirror image, accusing the rest of the world of everything Russia does itself, including atrocities. and human rights abuses, I mean, it was just ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass,'” they said.
Blinken and others, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, highlighted the atrocities discovered in Ukraine, the war’s global implications for things like food security, and called on Russia to stop rattling nuclear sabers.
The top US diplomat said Vladimir Putin’s threat to use “all available weapon systems” for Russia is “all the more threatening given Russia’s intention to annex large parts of Ukraine in the coming days”.
“Once that’s done, we can expect President Putin to claim any Ukrainian attempt to liberate this country as an attack on so-called Russian territory,” Blinken explained. “This from a country that joined the other permanent members of the Security Council here in January of this year by signing a statement affirming that, and I quote, ‘nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought. ‘.’ Yet another example of how Russia is violating the commitments it has made to this body, and another reason why no one should take Russia at its word today.”
“Every member of the Council should send a clear message that these reckless nuclear threats must stop immediately,” he said.
Blinken said Russia’s efforts to annex more Ukrainian territory — which U.S. officials say is the expected next step after the referenda held this week by the Russian-backed leaders of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, Zaporizhia and Kherson — is “another dangerous escalation.” and rejection of diplomacy.”
“It is even more troubling when combined with the filtration operations that Russian forces have been conducting in the parts of Ukraine they control,” Blinken said. “It’s a diabolical strategy: violently uproot hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians; bus into Russians to replace them; cast a vote; and manipulate the results to show near-unanimous support for joining the Russian Federation. Straight from the Crimean playbook.”
He again called for accountability for the crimes exposed in formerly Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, such as Bucha, Irpin and Izyum, where mass graves have been discovered and survivors have told of torture.
“These are not the acts of rogue units; they fit a clear pattern in the area controlled by Russian forces,” Blinken said. “This is one of many reasons why we support a range of national and international efforts to collect and investigate the mounting evidence of war crimes in Ukraine.”
Blinken reiterated that the United States would continue to support Ukraine and called on others to do the same.
“President Putin makes his choice. Now it is up to all our countries to make our own. Tell President Putin to stop the horror he started. Tell him to stop humiliating this Council and everything true it stands for’, said Blinken.
“One man has chosen this war. And one man can end it,” he said. “Because if Russia stops fighting, the war will end. If Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine will end.”
This story has been updated with additional details.
Jenny Hansler of CNN contributed to this report.