Briefing the Security Council, the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Rosemary Anne DiCarlo, said the United Nations is “deeply concerned” about the escalation of tensions between Russia and Ukraine over a naval incident this weekend in the Kerch Strait.
DiCarlo urged all parties “to avoid any unilateral steps that could deepen the divide or depart from of the spirit and letter of the Minsk Agreements” and reiterated the UN’s support for efforts towards a peaceful settlement.
United States Ambassador Nikki Haley said the latest events represent “yet another reckless Russian escalation,” adding that Russia “decided to prevent passage of the Ukrainian ships, rammed them, and then opened fire on them.”
She said, “this is no way for a law-abiding, civilized nation to act.”
Haley said, “as President Trump said many times, the United States would welcome a normal relationship with Russia. But outlaw actions like this one continue to make that impossible.”
Ukraine’s Ambassador Volodymyr Yelchenko told the Council that “the Russian claims about violation of the Russian border by the Ukrainian naval ships is an outright lie, invented just to cynically shift all the responsibility on the Ukrainian side, consciously manipulating the facts and ignoring the evidence.”
For his part, Russian Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy said that “what Kiev has been doing, in coordination with the US and others, to promote a conflict line against Russia, is fraught with very dangerous consequences.”
He said Russia will “curb any infringement of Russian sovereignty and territorial integrity including the Sea of Azov and that area.”
After the meeting and speaking on behalf of the European Union (EU,) French Ambassador Anne Gueguen, said “the situation is a direct consequence of the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia in March 2014 and the subsequent construction of the Kerch Bridge.”
She said, “we strongly reaffirm our full recognition of the territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.”
According to news reports, three Ukrainian ships were stormed by Russian special forces at the Kerch Strait, injuring several Ukrainian sailors. UNIFEED