Foreign Minister wants to discuss Russian disarmament, as Western weapons flow into Ukraine
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba accused Russia of “indiscriminate bombing” and “war crimes,” and requested the United Nations Conference on Disarmament to hold a special meeting on the “threatens.” Moscow insists Ukraine is at risk of acquiring weapons of mass destruction as Western weapons continue to cross its borders.
“Nothing can justify firing missiles at residential buildings, kindergartens, orphanages, hospitals and emergency vehicles, passenger buses and millions of refugees fleeing Russian fire,” Kuleba told the UN forum, based in Geneva, Switzerland, via video address.
Kuleba said he had called for a meeting of the Conference on Disarmament to deal with the “global threat to world peace and security resulting from Russian aggression against Ukraine, including its WMD aspect”, referring to weapons of mass destruction.
Russia insists its military is doing everything it can to avoid civilian casualties in Ukraine, and many analysts have show videos they claim to prove that Ukrainian militias place artillery and other weapons in residential areas. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov accused the Ukrainian military of using civilians as “human shields” in this way.
It is still unclear if the meeting requested by Kuleba will take place.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also spoke at the conference. In a pre-recorded address, Lavrov said that as “responsible member of the international community” Russia “take all necessary measures to prevent the emergence of nuclear weapons and related technologies in Ukraine”.
Ukraine renounced its nuclear weapons in the early 1990s when it signed the Budapest Memorandum, an agreement to which Russia and the United States, among others, were parties. Before invading Ukraine last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that Kiev could easily resume its nuclear program or effectively acquire nuclear weapons by joining NATO and potentially harboring the alliance’s nuclear weapons on its territory.
Kiev has denied having nuclear ambitions, but leaders there, as well as in Washington and Brussels, have so far refused to rule out Ukraine’s NATO membership. Meanwhile, with the Russian military offensive in Ukraine, a stream of weapons from NATO and non-NATO countries has been sent to the Ukrainian military, including British anti-tank missiles, Dutch air defense rockets and Finnish assault rifles.
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