Conflicts & War

Ukraine’s president calls for UN dialogue, Western leaders warn Russia

(Update 1: re-leads with Zelenskyy’s remarks, alters headline)

Munich, Germany, Feb 19 (EFE).- Ukraine’s president on Saturday called for a United Nations Security Council meeting over tensions with Russia, stressing the need for a road map for a “possible integration” of his country into Nato despite threats from Moscow.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered a speech at the Munich Security Conference, where the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine preoccupied a raft of Western leaders in attendance.

“In the coming weeks it is necessary to seek new security guarantees for Ukraine with the countries of the Security Council and with the participation of Europe, Germany and Turkey,” he said.

“Ukraine yearns for peace. Europe longs for peace. Russia says it does not want to attack. Someone is lying,” Zelenskyy added.

“It is said that the doors of Nato are open. That is very good, but there are no concrete steps,” Zelenskyy said.

Zelenskyy insisted that the world must be clear about the Russian president Vladimir Putin’s true intentions, recalling the Crimean crisis and the warnings that had been given before.

“A few years ago Vladimir Putin challenged the world order with a speech at this conference. The world reacted with appeasement. Appeasement led to the invasion of Crimea,” he said.

Ukraine is aware of what is happening, that the threat is real and that it is ready to defend itself from aggression but does not intend to respond to provocations, Zelenskyy said.

“If we respond to a provocation the danger would be even greater. But we are ready to defend ourselves,” he added.

Earlier in the day United State vice president Kamala Harris, Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg, president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, German chancellor Olaf Scholz and United Kingdom prime minister Boris Johnson told the conference, in individual addresses, that a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis was still on the table but warned that the situation was increasingly dangerous.

“As we have said all along, there is a playbook of Russian aggression. And this playbook is too familiar to us all,” Harris said on Saturday.

“Russia continues to claim it is ready for talks while, at the same time, it narrows the avenues for diplomacy. Their actions simply do not match their words.

“And let me be clear. I can say with absolute certainty: If Russia further invades Ukraine, the United States, together with our Allies and partners, will impose significant and unprecedented economic costs.”

Von der Leyen said Russia’s actions were an attempt to change the “architecture” of European security.

“The world has been watching in disbelief as we face the largest build-up of troops on European soil since the darkest days of the Cold War,” she added, warning that Russian action against Ukraine would be met with economic and political sanctions.

Johnson said that war in Ukraine would have global repercussions that could ripple as far as Asia and Taiwan, in reference to China’s claim to the island.

He added that the UK government would clampdown on Russian-held British capital.

Germany’s Scholz recalled recent discussions with Vladimir Putin, in which he emphasized Nato’s role as a defensive alliance that did not pose a threat, although the Russian leader mentioned Nato operations in Yugoslavia.

“Then he is coming to argue that in Donbas there is something like genocide, which is really ridiculous, to be very clear on that,” Scholz added. EFE

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