Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
February 17, 2022
Good afternoon, everyone.
For the second time in two weeks, the Security Council has convened to discuss Russia’s unprovoked military threats against Ukraine. And for the second time in two weeks, the rest of the Security Council has delivered a clear, unambiguous message to Russia to pursue the diplomatic path; do not pursue the path of confrontation.
Unfortunately, we are deeply concerned that this is the path Russia has chosen. Which is why Secretary Blinken laid out the facts we see on the ground, our understanding of Russia’s plans, and very clearly challenged Russia to state its intention, on the record, before the world that it had no intention to invade Ukraine.
But what we heard from Russia today, and out of Russia in recent days, has been exactly the kind of incendiary rhetoric and disinformation that we and others have been warning about. Just this week the Russian Duma recommended the Kremlin formally recognize, as independent states, those parts of the Donbas currently controlled by Russian proxies. This action – taken knowing the focus of our discussion today – shows Russia’s total contempt for the Minsk Agreements. Political resolutions to years-long conflict cannot happen at the barrel of a gun.
Let’s be clear: there is only one country – one country – making threats here. It is Russia. There is only one country – one country – with 150,000 troops on the border, poised to attack. And that country is Russia. This is about Russia threatening the sovereignty of Ukraine and the lives of untold people. This is about Russia threatening the international order. This is about Russia threatening the UN Charter. This is about Russia threatening the principles on which every UN Member State has freely committed – principles that guarantee each of us sovereignty and territorial integrity.
As Secretary Blinken said this morning, we very much hope that Russia doesn’t invade Ukraine and proves us wrong. But we fear the worst. That is why, today, the Security Council once again urged Russia to pursue the path of diplomacy. And it is why, as the United Nations addresses this crisis in the coming days, every single UN Member State has a stake and must stand with Ukraine to defend the UN Charter. There is too much at risk for anyone to sit on the fence. This is a moment for collective action.
The United States will continue to pursue de-escalation at the diplomatic table. So will Ukraine, and as you heard, our European partners, our NATO allies, the Security Council, and all of us here at the United Nations who are committed to the principles of the UN Charter. We are, as Secretary Blinken made clear this morning and President Biden said earlier this week, prepared for anything, but we will do everything – we will do everything possible to pursue the path of peace.
Thank you very much.