Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
February 9, 2023
QUESTION: Joining us now is United States Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield. Ambassador, thank you very much for joining us again.
AMBASSADOR LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Thank you.
QUESTION: First to President Zelenskyy’s European tour. It’s quite striking that he didn’t just do a one-hop out of Ukraine for a day to go to London and get back, but he is comfortable enough – secure enough – in the situation in Ukraine to actually be touring these European cities.
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I think that shows the extent of his confidence in his military’s efforts to defend Ukraine. I think it sends a very strong message.
QUESTION: What is your day-to-day involvement in helping to hold the coalition together in the United Nations?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: You know, whenever we have a vote in the United Nations, we have to have a strong statement. And so we work every day – every single day – to ensure that countries are aware of what is taking place in Ukraine. We provide them briefings. We talk to them about what our plans are so that when we need them to vote, they know what they’re voting for, and they know they’re voting for Ukraine’s sovereignty.
QUESTION: Vladimir Putin was confident that unity could not hold among –
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: He was wrong.
QUESTION: – among NATO Allies, European allies, European countries that wouldn’t be inclined to support Ukraine. Some of them would be afraid to support Ukraine, he thought, a year ago because that might jeopardize their energy supplies. We now know that he was wrong. What I’m wondering about is, a year ago, what was your confidence level in President Biden and you at the United Nations to be able to assemble a group of allies who would hold together for as long as it took.
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I was very confident because what Russia did was so egregious. Their attack on Ukraine was beyond the pale. It really was an attack on the UN Charter. I will say that when we had our first vote, I was surprised that we got to 141. We were watching the vote very closely. We were working to ensure we got a strong vote. One forty-one was beyond our imaginations, and then the next vote on condemning Russia’s annexations, we got 143.
QUESTION: To the situation with earthquake relief – this is an ultra-complex version of it since it involves Syria. What can you tell us about what’s possible in this situation?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Right now, NGOs, both local and international, are working around the clock to do everything possible to rescue people in what is an extraordinarily difficult circumstance. In Syria it’s even more difficult, because the one border crossing that was open was damaged during the earthquake. So, we’re working in the United Nations, answering the call of the Secretary-General, to look at passing a Security Council resolution that would open another one or two borders so that the international community, the NGOs, the UN can have access to the Syrians who have been affected by this earthquake.
QUESTION: What was your reaction when you saw Ukraine sending 88 rescuers who have gained their experience in the most awful way by rescuing people from the attacks in Ukraine?
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I think it was such a positive statement that this country, in the midst of war, would send their rescue troops to help another country. And I think it says everything about the spirit of the Ukrainians.
QUESTION: Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, thank you once again for joining us here in the studio. Always appreciate it.
AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Thank you.