Russia under fire at UN over Ukraine strikes

Russia currently holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council and its envoy to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya, indicated earlier this month he will take a firm line with Ukraine and its Western allies.

As a permanent member of the UN’s top security body, Moscow wields a veto which it has used on several occasions to thwart efforts to censure its war in Ukraine.

It initially appeared that Russia would seek to block Ukraine from participating in Tuesday’s meeting after Nebenzya said Kyiv had not correctly formatted its letter requesting to participate.

Ukraine could participate “only on condition it was requested by the United States … we regret that Ukraine cannot act independently … (and) it has to be led by its sponsor,” said Nebenzya.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the deadly Russian strikes in Ukraine as “particularly shocking,” his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Monday.

Dujarric said “directing attacks against civilians and civilian objects is prohibited by international humanitarian law and any such attacks are unacceptable. And must cease immediately.”

UN rights chief Volker Turk echoed Guterres, calling the attacks “abominable,” and saying that “the strikes severely damaged the intensive care, surgical and oncology wards of Okhmatdyt, which is Ukraine’s largest children’s referral hospital.”

Zelenskyy has been urging allies to bolster Ukrainian air defence systems and was expected to renew those calls as a NATO summit kicked off later Tuesday in Washington.

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