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31 Dec, 2023 02:36

NATO state too ‘scared’ to attend UN meeting – Russian diplomat

Dmitry Polyansky has accused the Czech foreign minister of cowardice
NATO state too ‘scared’ to attend UN meeting – Russian diplomat

The Czech Republic does not have the courage to publicly respond to Moscow’s claim that missiles made in the country were used by Ukraine to kill civilians, Russia’s deputy envoy to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, said on Sunday.

Russia called an urgent meeting at the UN headquarters in New York on Saturday, requesting that the Czech delegation attend and “explain why this country’s ammunition is being used for killing civilians in Belgorod,” Polyansky said.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Ukrainian troops used Czech RM-70 Vampire multiple rocket launchers to fire at the border city of Belgorod earlier that day, killing at least 22 people and injuring more than 100.

Prague declined to take part in the UN meeting. “We refuse to be summoned anywhere by Russia,” Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky wrote on X (formerly Twitter), accusing Moscow of “propaganda.” 

“When Russia wants to discuss the withdrawal of its occupying troops at the Security Council, we will be happy to come,” Lipavsky wrote.

Polyansky fired back on X. “Your cowardice and simple-mindedness have been noted,” the Russian diplomat wrote. “We assume that the Czech Republic will no longer participate in UN Security Council meetings on the issue of Ukraine.” 

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also blasted Prague’s actions. “I didn’t think that the Czech Foreign Ministry would be so ignorant as to not know how the UN Security Council functions,” she wrote on Telegram.

Speaking at the Security Council, Russian envoy Vassily Nebenzia alleged that US and British “consultants” helped Kiev plan the “premeditated act of terror” against civilians in Belgorod. He warned that those responsible would be “punished.” 

Ukraine denied the allegations and accused Moscow of “terrorism” after the Russian Air Force carried out large-scale strikes in the neighboring country. According to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, 39 people were killed and nearly 160 were injured during the bombardment on Friday.

The Russian MOD stated that it was only striking ammunition depots and other military targets. Russian officials further claimed that civilian deaths were caused by the faulty work of Ukrainian air defense systems deployed in residential areas.