UN secretary-general under Western pressure on Ukraine – Russia
Speaking with the UN special envoy for Syria on Wednesday, Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, has lamented what he described as the UN secretary-general bowing to Western pressure over the situation in Ukraine. Antonio Guterres has accused Russia of “perverting the concept of peacekeeping,” after President Vladimir Putin recognized the two breakaway Donbass republics as sovereign states.
Lavrov told Geir Pedersen, that, much to Moscow’s regret, it has turned out that the UN secretary-general “has yielded to Western pressure, and, in recent days, made several remarks regarding the situation in eastern Ukraine that are unbecoming to his status and fall outside his remit under the UN charter.”
Lavrov went on to say that Moscow had analyzed statements made by Guterres and his predecessors and never before had a UN secretary-general made such remarks about any other previous armed conflict. Russia has notified the UN secretary-general of its assessment.
Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, Guterres condemned Russia’s decision to recognize the sovereignty of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) as a “violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine.” He warned that Moscow’s move was a “death blow to the Minsk agreements endorsed by the Security Council.”
On Tuesday, Putin won the approval of Russian lawmakers to deploy troops abroad, potentially as peacekeepers in war-torn regions. The secretary-general described the suggestion that they might be sent to the two republics as a “perversion of the concept of peacekeeping.”
In a televised address on Monday, the president had said his government would “immediately” recognize the DPR and LPR – created in the wake of Ukraine’s 2014 Euromaidan coup – and ordered the Russian military to “secure peace” in the republics.
Putin cited the failure of the Minsk Protocol to halt fighting between separatist forces and Ukrainian troops in the country’s east, saying Kiev was “not interested in peaceful solutions” and was planning a “Blitzkrieg” in the Donbass. Although a ceasefire was called following negotiations in 2014 and 2015, he said Ukraine had failed to grant the agreed special status to Donetsk and Lugansk as stipulated in the accords.
Putin’s recognition has received near-universal condemnation in the West, with the US, the UK, and the EU swiftly moving to impose sanctions on Moscow. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky described the move as “judicial aggression,” but nonetheless expressed the hope that there would be no war with Russia.