This week marks 18 months since Russia’s illegal, unprovoked invasion of its sovereign neighbor, Ukraine. Russian armed forces specifically targeted civilian infrastructure such as schools and hospitals, fields, and grain storage, killing thousands of Ukrainian civilians and displacing millions more. Yet “Russia continues to falsely allege that it is in fact the unified support of Ukraine’s defense by over 50 nations that is exacerbating the war and hindering peace discussions,” said Alternate United States Representative to the United Nations, Robert Wood.
“Russia is telling us that it is not the invading country that is responsible for the crisis, but rather alleging it is the country doing everything in its power to defend itself from an illegal invasion that is at fault. This narrative is hypocritical and preposterous, and it strains credulity to the breaking point,” he said.
“While Russia attempts to brazenly rewrite this history, we cannot be distracted from the truth of Russia’s destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere,” said Ambassador Wood. “Russia’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric and its announced stationing of its nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus risks further aggravating an already highly dangerous situation.”
“The Russian Federation is seeking increased military cooperation with the DPRK, including by pressing Kim Jong Un to sell additional arms to Moscow to fuel its war in Ukraine,” he said. “Furthermore, … Russia has procured armed drones from Iran, and then deployed these UAVs in cruel, lethal attacks against civilians in Ukraine.”
“Let’s be clear,” said Ambassador Wood. “Western weapons provided to Ukraine to prevent Russia’s brutalization of Ukraine’s people are not the cause of this war, nor are they prolonging this war: that responsibility is the Kremlin’s alone. Russia remains the sole obstacle to peace in Ukraine.”
“The Government of Ukraine and the United States continue to work together to maintain safeguards against diversion while responsibly providing for Ukraine’s ability to exercise its inherent right of self-defense against Russia’s brutal war. Ukraine has been a transparent and willing partner as we stress accountability and ensure robust processes to counter any attempts at illicit diversion,” he said.
“The United States will continue to demonstrate its enduring commitment to supporting Ukraine’s self-defense,” said Ambassador Wood, “including through the provision of arms and equipment that enable Ukraine to defend its territory and protect its people from Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified aggression.”