Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
February 21, 2022
I think you heard everyone’s statements, so we’re unified. And I think that I can speak for the United States. So let me start by thanking you for staying this late in the evening.
This urgent, emergency meeting of the Security Council is our third meeting over the past few weeks on Russia’s threat to Ukraine. And it is the third time you heard from the rest of the Security Council, a unified message: that Russia should not start war. That Russia should lean toward diplomacy. That it should not continue its unprovoked attacks on Ukraine – on Ukraine’s sovereignty and on their territorial integrity. That it should not defy the foundational principles of the UN Charter. And you also heard the Secretary-General make that statement, as well, today.
Today, President Putin gave a speech that clearly sets up a pretext for invasion. In doing so, he tore the Minsk agreements to shreds and, as the Secretary General said earlier today, he violated the UN Charter. Just now my Russian counterpart made assertions without evidence that demonstrate their efforts to create a pretext for conflict, and it is alarming, it’s revealing, and it’s shameful.
Every UN Member State has a stake in what comes next. An annual debate on this topic was already on the agenda for Wednesday in the General Assembly. We expect to hear strong statements in support of Ukraine – as we did today – and the UN Charter, and a chorus of calls for Russia to cease its hostilities. This is the moment – the moment to stand up and defend the United Nations and our international order as we know it.
Tomorrow, the United States will impose sanctions on Russia for this clear violation of international law and Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We can, will, and must stand united in our calls for Russia to withdraw its forces, return to the diplomatic table, and work toward peace.
QUESTION: Ambassador are you optimistic about – are you optimistic about diplomacy?
AMBASSADOR LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I always stay optimistic, and we’ll see where it goes.