Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
April 4, 2022
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Good afternoon, Ambassador. Thank you for this opportunity. The first question would be, what is your message that you are here to transmit to the Republic of Moldova?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: It’s a simple message. It’s a message of gratitude. It’s “thank you” for being extraordinary hosts, for providing hospitality to people in need. Moldova opened its borders; it opened its doors to Ukrainians who were fleeing the horrible brutality of the Russian attack on Ukraine. And I think that you deserve an extraordinary recognition for being so hospitable.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Today, as far as you know probably, Odessa has been attacked again, subject to military attacks by the Russian Federation’s army. This is very close to Chișinău, about 200 kilometers only. Which is to your mind – which are to your mind the most obvious security risks for the Republic of Moldova?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I met with the prime minister and had a very frank discussion with her about Moldova’s security concerns. She was asked about that in a press interview and indicated that they continue to see no reason to believe that Russia has any intentions toward Moldova. But certainly, we made clear our support for Moldova, for their efforts to improve their security, but we also support their neutrality, and they have constitutional neutrality, and she made that point very clearly during her discussions with the press earlier today.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) What would you think, or maybe you have information to tell us, whether the Transnistrian region represents today or is today a potential risk given the context of the war?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Moldova has had 1,500 Russian troops in its borders for almost 30 years, and it has – it continues. We call upon the Russians to honor commitments to remove their troops. We support Moldova’s call for Russia to remove their troops from Moldovan border, and we call on Russia to abide by OSCE and the principles of the 5+2 discussions to find a solution to their presence on Moldovan territory.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) I would also like to ask you a little bit about the reform of the United Nations. Given the context of the unprovoked war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, we have seen that the way UN works now, it cannot defy countries who want to violate international peace, international law, and we see that the aggression of one of the members of the UN Security Council could not be stopped in this context. So, what is there to reform within the UN?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Look, we unified against Russia in the United Nations. So, in the Security Council, Russia, we – Russia itself submitted a resolution on humanitarian, which was defeated. We also presented a resolution ourselves calling for condemnation of Russia, and 14 countries – or 13 countries supported this and only Russia and China voted against it. And in the General Assembly, 141 countries supported a condemnation of Russia. In the General Assembly, 140 countries supported humanitarian assistance for Ukraine. So, Russia has been isolated in the United Nations, and while they have made attempts to distract the international community, to distract the Security Council away from their aggression against Ukraine, they have failed – and they have failed to defeat the Ukrainians and they have failed to defeat efforts to break up the strong coalition of Europeans against what they’re doing. And in fact, the only thing they have succeeded in doing is to unify Europe and America and to unify NATO.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) And actually, the United States has been warning long before the war broke out that there might be an aggression on behalf of Russia in relation to Ukraine. However, in the very first and immediate period after the war broke out, the international community didn’t seem really prepared to support Ukraine or at least it was not – the response from the international community was not the one that was expected. And do you think that everything possible has been done to support Ukraine and to stop Russia from doing that?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Absolutely everything has been done. We’ve provided Ukraine close to $1 billion in support before the war started, and we’ve provided $1 billion in support since the war started. We strongly back Ukraine’s efforts, and what we have done has provided the wherewithal for the Ukrainian Government to stand up against Russia. They can’t defeat the Ukrainians. They’ve won battles. They have committed horrible atrocities. They have destroyed buildings. They have destroyed lives. But they have not destroyed the courage and the will of the Ukrainian people. And part of that is because Ukraine has the full support of the United States and the rest of the international community.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) And if you can, of course, forecast when the war will end?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: If I could determine when the war would end, I think I would become very famous. None of us know when Putin will make the decision to end his aggression against the Ukrainians. That is all of our goals – to bring an end to this war, to bring an end to the war crimes that are being committed, to bring an end to the atrocities that he is committing against the Ukrainian people. I don’t know when it’s going to end. I can only hope that the diplomatic efforts that are taking place right now – meetings between the Ukrainians and the Russians, efforts by others to engage with Putin – will encourage him to end his aggression.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Well, right now the largest security risk that the Republic of Moldova faces, or the largest challenge, is the very high flow of refugees. Now, how do you see it? Could this flow of refugees be able, or would it be able to manage this flow of refugees in the midterm given the attacks on Odessa and the possibility of continuous attacks and the possibility of new waves of refugees coming to the Republic of Moldova?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Part of the reason I am here is to work with the UN agencies and the NGOs on their preparations and their response to the humanitarian crisis coming out of Ukraine, particularly the large numbers of refugees. And we had several discussions with UNHCR, with the World Food Program, and other organizations about their plans for ramping up their agencies’ support in Moldova for refugees and their plans for a possible increase in the numbers. Also, I announced today that we’re providing an additional $50 million to Ukraine in addition to the 30 million we’ve already provided – sorry, to Moldova – and in addition to the $30 million we’ve already provided. We are the largest humanitarian donor in the world, and we will work with the humanitarian agencies and with the Government of Moldova in the event that there are increased numbers of refugees who come across the border.
QUESTION: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much, Your Excellency, for this interview.
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Thank you.