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US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on Friday there should be no doubt that Russia is seeking to dismantle Ukraine “and dissolve it entirely from the map of the world”.
Speaking to the UN Security Council, the ambassador said the United States had noticed signs that Russia was preparing to try to annex all areas of eastern Ukraine from Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as the southern regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
She said Moscow’s attempt to do so could include installing “illegitimate proxies in Russian-controlled areas, with the aim of staging sham referendums or a decree to join Russia.”
Thomas-Greenfield said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov “even said that was Russia’s war aim.”
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Lavrov told an Arab summit in Cairo on Sunday that Moscow’s primary mission in Ukraine was to liberate its people from their “unacceptable regime”.
“We will certainly help the Ukrainian people get rid of the regime, which is absolutely anti-people and anti-historical,” Lavrov said, appearing to suggest that Russia’s goals for the war go beyond Ukraine’s industrial region of Donbass in the east, which includes Donetsk and Luhansk.
Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, told the Security Council on Friday that “the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine will be carried out.”
“At this stage, there must be no longer any threat to Donbass, nor to Russia, nor to the liberated Ukrainian territories where, for the first time in several years, people can finally feel that they can live as they wish,” he said. .
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Polyansky also issued a warning to Western countries supplying Ukraine with long-range artillery and MLRS rockets, saying they were moving the “provisional line of security” further west.
“And in doing so, further clarifying the goals and objectives of our special military operation,” he said.
Thomas-Greenfield also highlighted at the meeting evidence of increased atrocities caused by the Russian war.
She said this includes the bombings of schools and hospitals, the “killing of aid workers and journalists, the targeting of civilians trying to flee, the brutal execution-style killing of those going about their daily lives. in Bucha”, a suburb of Kyiv.
The ambassador said there is evidence that Russian forces “interrogated, forcibly detained, expelled approximately hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens, including children, uprooting them from their homes and sending them to remote areas from the east”.
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Nearly two million Ukrainian refugees have been transferred to Russia, according to Ukrainian and Russian officials. Ukraine alleges that the refugees were forced onto enemy soil, which is considered a war crime. But Russia sees the trips as humanitarian evacuations of war victims who appreciate a new place to call home.
“The United Nations has information that officials from the Russian presidential administration are overseeing and coordinating the filtering operations,” Thomas-Greenfield told the council.
Polyansky, however, said Ukrainians “choose the country they trust.”
He claimed that the heavy artillery supplied to Ukraine “will spill over into Europe” due to “the flourishing corruption among Ukrainian political and military leaders”.
Polyansky said Western weapons “prolong the agony and increase the suffering of the Ukrainian people.”
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He told Western ambassadors: “The objectives of our special military operation will be achieved anyway, no matter how much fuel you pour into the fire in the form of weapons.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.