Ukraine, Russia, spar over invasion during heated UN meet

Remote video URL

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - A visibly emotional Ukrainian ambassador traded barbs with his Russian counterpart during a heated late-night emergency United Nations Security Council meeting on the Russia-Ukraine crisis Wednesday (Feb 24).

Mr Sergiy Kyslytsya implored the council, chaired by Russia, to "do everything possible to stop the war" against his country.

"It is the responsibility of these bodies to stop the war," Mr Kyslytsya told the meeting of the 15-member council, which began shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine.

Mr Kyslytsya urged UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia of Russia, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the council, to "call Putin, call (Foreign Minister Sergey) Lavrov to stop (the) aggression".

Mr Kyslytsya told Mr Nebenzia to "relinquish your duties as chair".

"There is no purgatory for war criminals. They go straight to hell, ambassador."

In a series of heated exchanges, Mr Nebenzia said Russia was merely carrying out "a special military operation".

"This isn't called a war," he told his Ukrainian counterpart.

Mr Nebenzia later added: "I wanted to say in conclusion that we aren't being aggressive against the Ukrainian people but against the junta that is in power in Kyiv."

After the meeting, Mr Kyslytsya described the Moscow envoy's comments that Russia's incursion wasn't a war "lunacy".

"You want me to dissect the crazy lunatic semantics of a person whose president violates the charter, whose president declared a war and he's playing with words," Mr Kyslytsya said in response to a question by a reporter.

"And you've asked me to interpret. It's lunacy. It's lunacy."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.