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UNITED NATIONS –
Russia accused the West on Monday of sabotaging agreements that would have prevented the war in Ukraine – but the U.S. and its allies put the blame squarely on Moscow, saying there is no escaping that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of its smaller neighbor.
Days before the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24, 2022, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia again put the cause of the war down to the failure to implement the 2015 Minsk agreements, which he blamed on “Kyiv’s sabotage” supported by the West.
The agreements aimed to resolve the conflict between Ukraine and Russia-backed separatists that flared in April 2014 after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its support for the separatists in the mostly Russian-speaking industrial east called Donbas.
At Monday’s Security Council meeting that Russia called on the seventh anniversary of the signing of the Minsk peace plan brokered by France and Germany, Nebenzia called claims by Ukraine and Western nations that Russia refused to implement the agreements “absolutely baseless.”
Had the Minsk agreements been implemented, Nebenzia said, “the tragedy that has taken place in Ukraine today would not have happened, a tragedy in which the U.S. and the collective West are complicit as they try to achieve their geopolitical aims at the cost of Ukraine and the lives of its citizens.”
U.S. deputy ambassador Robert Wood accused Russia of putting forward “significant myths and disinformation” in its efforts to rewrite history after it invaded a sovereign nation in violation of the UN Charter.
“Moscow has called us together today to lament the very violence it began, fueled and it continues to perpetrate daily,” he said.
Wood told the council Russia negotiated and signed the Minsk agreements but “ignored all commitments it made.”
“It is Russia that is the aggressor and Ukraine which is simply defending its people, its territorial integrity and its freedom,” the U.S. envoy said.
Wood said Russia trained the separatist movement in eastern Ukraine as “a proxy force to undermine Ukraine’s stability,” and said the war and Putin’s recognition of the independence as so-called independent entities “have fully and forever nullified the Minsk agreements.”
Britain’s deputy UN ambassador James Kariuki said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine showed the world that Putin “was never interested in peace.”
He accused Russia of using the council meeting “in another attempt to distort history” and a desperate effort to justify its “unprovoked, unnecessary and illegal” invasion and ongoing war.
“We urge Russia once again to end its illegal invasion, withdraw from Ukraine and respect the principles of the UN Charter, Kariuki said, vowing that the United Kingdom will continue to stand with Ukraine and call out “Russian disinformation.”