Top Russian Officials Warn of Approaching Nuclear War

April 27th, 2023 - by Karen DeYoung / The Washington Post & Danielle Ong / International Business Times

Russia’s Foreign Minister addressing the UN Security Council.

Russia’s Lavrov Spars with Western Officials at UN
Karen DeYoung / The Washington Post

UNITED NATIONS (April 24, 2023) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov squared off against the United States and its allies at the UN Security Council on Monday, warning that their aggression and bullying have brought the world to a “dangerous threshold.”

Russia, which this month holds the rotating council presidency, called the meeting on “Defense of the Principles of the UN Charter” in an apparent attempt to switch the global narrative from criticism of its invasion of Ukraine — which the West has said is a gross violation of international law — to charges that the United States is making all the rules at the expense of other nations.

The session was a prominent appearance for Lavrov, who appeared at UN headquarters in New York, his first visit to the United States since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began 14 months ago.

In an appeal to Western journalists for “objective” reporting on the meeting, he noted that Russian reporters were not given US visas to travel to New York with him until the last minute, and he claimed that travel documents were only “mockingly” issued as his plane was taking off.

The State Department cited privacy concerns in declining to comment on charges the visas were intentionally withheld, first made by Moscow over the weekend. A department spokesperson, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that “to ensure timely processing, we repeatedly remind the Russian Mission to the UN, as we do all other UN Missions, that the United States needs applications as early as possible.”

A limited consulate staff in Moscow, which the spokesperson blamed on recent Kremlin bans on Russian nationals working there, has “severely limited” visa capabilities.

The journalist controversy came as Russia has continued to detain Wall Street Journal correspondent Evan Gershkovich on what the Biden administration has said are bogus charges of espionage.

In a lengthy, impassioned speech, Lavrov appealed to nations in the global south to see Western criticism of Russian actions in Ukraine as part of a larger US plot to prevent the rise of other world powers. He outlined “US plans to leverage the openly racist regime [in Kyiv] in the hope of weakening the Russian Federation in a strategic focus on eliminating competitors. It’s clear to all,” he said, “even though not everybody talks about this. It’s not at all about Ukraine.”

But the United States, its allies and other representatives on the council insisted it was, in fact, all about Ukraine.

“This is a serious topic, even if it was convened by a council member whose actions demonstrate a blatant disregard for the UN Charter,” US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the council. Reading from a copy of the charter, she noted that, among statements about the need to “develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights,” and “encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms,” it also “states quite clearly: ‘All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.’”

“Our hypocritical convener today, Russia, invaded its neighbor in Ukraine and struck at the heart of … all the values that we hold dear,” she said.

Britain was even more direct in its comments. Lavrov “has called this meeting to share the Russian vision for the future of multilateralism,” Ambassador Barbara Woodward said. “We’ve seen what Russia’s idea of multilateralism means for the future of the world … unimaginable suffering … thousands of Ukrainians killed, millions displaced, and across the world billions have faced … food insecurity.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin “can count the supporters of his war on one hand,” she said. “Russia has severely damaged its reputation in the international community.”

But Lavrov’s appeal against Western dominance resonates with African, Asian and Latin American nations that have long argued for reform of international institutions to give them a more prominent seat at the table. The countries that made the rules after World War II, when the United Nations was formed, still hold sway there. The United States, Britain, France and Russia (then the Soviet Union), along with China, are the only permanent members and hold veto power over all Security Council resolutions.

The 193-member UN General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly three times to condemn the invasion of Ukraine and call for Russian troops to immediately withdraw. The last vote, in February, was 141 in favor, 7 opposed and 32 abstentions, nearly all of which were in the global south.

The African countries that hold the continent’s three rotating council seats — Gabon, Ghana and Mozambique — barely mentioned the war in Ukraine in their statements. But all called for action in expanding their presence and power on the council and in other international bodies.

Brazil and Mexico sharply criticized the invasion of Ukraine. But both called for more UN reform.

The United Arab Emirates, representing Arab states at the council, noted that “some member states have always had a disproportionate influence over the multilateral system, including how these systems were set up and whether or not they function in the interest of all. … Status quo structures will not move us beyond the status quo.”

Russia invited all UN member states to participate in the meeting. Of the handful of non-council members that showed up, most, including Cuba and Iran, avoided the topic of Ukraine but had much to say about what they viewed as US bullying, the use of what they called illegal economic sanctions, and UN slowness in making promised reforms.

Thomas-Greenfield, Woodward and others who came to confront Russia over the war in Ukraine said change was coming.

“The United States believes in the United Nations and we believe in this charter” and the need for reform, Thomas-Greenfield said. But “our response to Russia’s flagrant violations cannot be to abandon this institution’s founding principles.”

Karen DeYoung is associate editor and senior national security correspondent for The Post. In more than three decades at the paper, she has served as bureau chief in Latin America and in London and as correspondent covering the White House, US foreign policy and the intelligence community.  Twitter

Medvedev said the threat of a nuclear conflict is ‘mounting daily.’

Nations ‘On The Verge’ Of A ‘Full Scale’
World War 3, Russian Official Says
Danielle Ong / International Business Times

(April 25, 2023) — Former Russian president and prime minister Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday warned of the possibility of another World War amid the rising threat of a nuclear conflict.

Medvedev, who currently serves as the Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, made the warning while speaking at the Znanie educational marathon conference in Moscow.

“The world is sick and quite probably is on the verge of a new world war,” Medvedev said, as quoted by Al Jazeera.

“I cannot say what the last straw, what the trigger may be, but it may happen at some point. We all need to work to ensure that this threat of global confrontation, of a hot, full-scale World War III should not materialize,” he continued.

Medvedev insisted that Russia does not wish to engage in a global war but said the threat of a nuclear conflict happening is “mounting daily.” He then added that Russia could be the first country to launch nuclear weapons if it perceives there was a threat to its existence.

“Let’s face it, if you have any weapons in your hands, and I, as a former president, know what they are, you should be prepared, that in a certain situation, you won’t hesitate to use them, no matter how monstrous and cruel it may sound,” he said, as quoted by independent news website Meduza.

It is not the first time Medvedev raised the possibility of World War III. Last month, he warned that any attempt to arrest President Vladimir Putin over the warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) would amount to a declaration of war against Russia.

Prior to that warning, Medvedev also mocked the ICC for issuing the arrest warrant over Putin’s role in the forced deportation of Ukrainian children. He also suggested the use of hypersonic missiles to target The Hague and advised ICC judges to “look carefully into the sky.

Medvedev served as Russia’s president from 2008 to 2012. Since the war began, Medvedev has consistently mocked Western leaders and delivered a series of warnings on the possibility of a nuclear conflict.

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