Ukraine may ‘destroy itself’ as Russia and US clash at UN

Moscow warns Ukraine may ‘destroy itself’ as Russia and US clash at UN

At a UNSC meeting, Russian diplomat Vasily Nebenzya claimed Ukraine’s violation of the Minsk pact could end in ‘worst way’

Ukraine will be responsible for its own destruction if it undermines existing peace agreements, a senior Russian diplomat has warned at a combative UN security council debate on the crisis.

The warning from Vasily Nebenzya, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, came on a day of continued high-level diplomacy aimed at defusing the Ukraine crisis.

The state department said it had received a response from Moscow to a document the US delivered in Moscow last week, formally outlining areas where the Biden administration believes the two countries could find common ground. US officials would not disclose the contents of the Russian letter, saying they would not “negotiate in public”.

Russia’s state news agency RIA reported on Tuesday that Russia had sent follow-up questions rather than a response, and that Moscow was still working on an actual response.

The US secretary of state Tony Blinken and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, are due to talk on Tuesday, in the wake of the Russian letter and the security council session. Meanwhile on Monday, Vladimir Putin talked to Emmanuel Macron in the second phone conversation between the Russian and French leaders since Friday.

“The two leaders agreed to continue contacts by telephone and to promptly consider the possibility of meeting in person,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

Monday’s security council session did nothing to narrow the wide divide between Russia and the west, but did provide a test of diplomatic strength on the world stage. Nebenzya began the meeting by deriding western claims of a planned Russian attack as “hysterics” and blamed Ukraine for not abiding by the Minsk agreements of 2014 and 2015, which were supposed to end the conflict between the Kyiv government and the Russian-backed separatists in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

Nebenzya, Russia’s permanent representative at the UN, also blamed western nations for “actively pumping Ukraine full of weapons” which he said would be used against civilians in the east of the country and were “in violation of the Minsk agreements”.

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