Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
March 10, 2022
QUESTION (via translator): Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield, thank you so much for being with us. Ambassador, what efforts are under way at the UN to stop the war?
AMBASSADOR LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Thank you so much, and I’m delighted to be here with you today. Where we are at the UN is isolating Russia. We have had five meetings in the Security Council, and we had a historic meeting in the General Assembly when 141 Member States joined us in condemning the actions of Russia in Ukraine. They are isolated, and they are on the defensive in the United Nations. And we will continue to press them both here in New York, but elsewhere in the world to cease the fighting, to end the carnage, and return to the negotiating table so that we can find a way forward to peace for the Ukrainian people.
QUESTION (via translator): We’ve been following a meeting of the Russian government chaired by President Putin where he was talking about sanctions, and he said that Russia was prepared for these sanctions and measures were taken to mitigate the effect they would have for Russian citizens. He said the Americans miscalculated. What do you think about that?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I think they are absolutely incorrect. The sanctions are having an impact. We’re seeing that impact every day. President Biden made very clear in his conversations with President Putin early on that we would impose sanctions that will be felt, and they would be strong sanctions. I think the Russians were not prepared for how unified the European countries would be with us on those sanctions, and they are – unfortunately for Moscow – he miscalculated and his messages to the Russian people are totally incorrect, because the people on the ground know that the sanctions are being felt. Russia’s economy is being impacted by these sanctions. But more importantly, they’re being impacted by the actions taken by President Putin. He has been the aggressor here. He’s responsible for all of these actions that are happening both in Russia, and he is responsible for the devastating impact of his war of terror on the Ukrainian people.
QUESTION (via translator): Ambassador, the consensus is that Russia will continue to pump energy into Europe and that maybe these sanctions will not have the desired impact. What’s next after the sanctions?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: You know, we have worked closely with our European colleagues on these sanctions, and they have supported sanctions. We, as you know, the President imposed a ban on Russian oil and on energy. We’ve not asked our European allies to participate in that. That will be a decision that they have to make, because as you noted, they are quite dependent on Russian oil. But we’re all working to help wean them away from that dependence so that they can operate and support our efforts to isolate Russia.
QUESTION (via translator): You talked about the European unity and the alliance with the United States and the unified position about sanctions. It seems like there is some difference between the United States and Europe on the level of sanctions imposed on Russia. And we know that there is also some negative impact on the United States, as well.
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: You know, there is no light between us and Europeans on the importance of sanctions on the Russians. And while we know that there will be impact felt in the United States, we have done everything possible to mitigate the impact of the sanctions on the U.S. and on our European allies.
QUESTION (via translator): What’s next? What’s after the sanctions, either for the United States or the United Nations? We know there were sessions held in order to come out with resolutions denouncing the actions of President Putin. What’s next after that?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Right now, what we’re trying to do, again, is do everything possible diplomatically to end the conflict, and more importantly, to provide support and assistance to the Ukrainian people who are fleeing this conflict. We have increased our humanitarian assistance. As you know, the Vice President is in Poland today and she announced additional humanitarian funding, bringing our assistance to over $100 million, and we’re continuing to provide military assistance through our NATO allies that is being sent directly to the Ukrainian people so that they can continue to fight strongly against the Russians.
I think President Putin miscalculated. He miscalculated on three areas: One, he miscalculated on the resolve of the Ukrainian people to fight; he miscalculated on his own people and the fact that Russians are in the streets protesting this; and he miscalculated on the unity between the United States and Europe and the unity of NATO.
QUESTION (via translator): Ambassador, what about China and its position? We know it abstained in the voting in the Security Council and the General Assembly.
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: You know, I can’t speak for the Chinese, but I can imagine that they are in a very uncomfortable position. They have always been strong about sovereignty and the integrity of borders. It is part of their core message and narrative in the United Nations. And right now, what Russia is doing is totally against the concept and values of sovereignty and integrity of borders and what they’re doing is against the core values of the UN Charter. So, they have a very difficult task of trying to figure out how to stay true to their own values and not look as if they’re totally in bed with this aggressive attack and war against the Ukrainian people.
QUESTION (via translator): Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield, thank you so much for being here with us.
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Good. Thank you very much, and thank you for your translation.