Russia defends war in Ukraine as US, others decry alleged abuses

World leaders at the United Nations have called for Moscow to be held accountable for human rights violations in Ukraine as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov defended Moscow’s war.

Addressing a meeting of the UN Security Council on alleged atrocities committed in Ukraine since Russia’s February 24 invasion, Lavrov on Thursday accused Ukraine of creating threats against Russian security and “brazenly trampling” the rights of Russians and Russian speakers in Ukraine.

“I can assure you that we will never accept this,” said Lavrov, who came to the council chamber to speak and then left. “Everything I’ve said today simply confirms that the decision to conduct the special military operation was inevitable.”

He said countries supplying weapons to Ukraine and training its soldiers were parties to the conflict, adding that “the intentional fomenting of this conflict by the collective West remained unpunished”.

Ukraine’s Western allies, he added, “have been covering up the crimes of the Kyiv regime”.

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken pledged that Washington would continue to support Ukraine to defend itself.

“The very international order we’ve gathered here to uphold is being shredded before our eyes. We can’t let [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin get away with it,” Blinken told the council.

Lavrov was not in the room when Blinken and some other US allies spoke, only appearing just before his own speech.

The US announced nearly $3bn in new military aid to Ukraine last month, making it the single largest US aid package for Ukraine since Russian forces invaded their neighbour.

Thousands have been killed and Ukrainian cities reduced to rubble since Russian forces invaded.

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