Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
January 10, 2022
Thank you. I wanted to stay behind to make an additional statement about Ukraine in my national capacity.
We have been watching closely the build-up of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border. The United States has been preparing diligently, in close consultation with our partners and allies, options based upon the path Russia chooses to take in the weeks ahead.
It remains our goal to find a diplomatic way forward and avert conflict, and President Biden has instructed our diplomats to work intensively and pragmatically, including here in New York, to determine whether that is possible. This week we’re having an intensive series of meetings with Russia in Geneva, at the NATO-Russia Council, and the OSCE Permanent Council. As Deputy Secretary Sherman reiterated today in Geneva, we welcome genuine progress on the matters at hand, but that can only happen within the context of de-escalation.
If Russia chooses the path of conflict, the United States, our partners, and allies have been clear: We are prepared to impose enormous costs on Russia’s economy, reinforce NATO’s presence in frontline allied states, and increase our defensive assistance to Ukraine.
Given the stakes for global peace and security, over the past week, I have met with other members of the Security Council and key counterparts here in New York. We remain in particularly close touch with our European allies and partners, who are understandably concerned about this build-up. In the days ahead, the United States will continue to make every effort toward de-escalation, dialogue, and diplomatic resolution to this situation. But as Deputy Secretary Sherman said today, and our allies and partners have echoed, it is on Russia to take steps to de-escalate.
Thank you very much.
QUESTION: Ambassador, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia says they have no plans to invade Ukraine. You are the U.S. officials who probably has more contact with the Russians than any other; you deal with them on an almost daily basis. Do you believe him?
AMBASSADOR LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD: I wish to believe him. I wish that it is true that they have no plans. But everything we’ve seen so far indicate that they are making motions in that direction. And if they have decided not to move forward because of our engagement with them over the course of the past few weeks with President Biden speaking to President Putin – twice – then that’s a good thing. But we will continue to prepare and to plan for responding should they take any actions against Ukraine.