U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield is seeking suspension of the Russian Federation from the Human Rights Council over Ukraine’s accusation that invading troops massacred civilians in the town of Bucha.
Thomas-Greenfield who made the call while addressing UN Security Council on Tuesday in New York said Russia had been using its membership as a platform for its propaganda.
The Human Rights Council is a body at the UN charged with promoting and protecting human rights globally.
Two-thirds of the 193 members of the UN will need to vote in favor of suspending Russia from the council for committing human rights abuses in order for the U.S. push to be successful.
Our UN Correspondent reports that Thomas-Greenfield made the move after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky briefed the Council on the killings of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.
Based on available information, she said the US has assessed that the Russian forces committed war crimes in Ukraine.
The envoy said that behind the images of bombed out buildings, many people had “stuffed their lives into backpacks” and left the only home they had ever known.
She gave her own account of the refugee crisis in parts of Europe, having returned on April 4 from the Republic of Moldova and Romania.
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia countered that in fact his country had saved 123,500 people in Mariupol, without any help from Ukraine.
“More than 600,000 people have been evacuated to Russian territory since its “special operation” began.
“We’re not talking about coercion or abduction”, he clarified. These voluntary decisions are supported by videos on social media,” he said.
To Ukraine’s president, he said: “We place on your conscience the ungrounded accusations against the Russian military,” which are uncorroborated by eye-witnesses.
He said any hope tied to the president’s election had failed to materialise following his launch of a linguistic inquisition against Russian speakers in the Donbas region.
“We were on the verge of correcting injustices” sparked by the 2014 events at Maidan, he recalled.
In reply to accusations against Russian forces criminality in Bucha, he blamed Kyiv and the Western media for promoting “flagrant inconsistencies” and said that there are, in fact, recordings of Ukrainian radicals shooting civilians.
Moreover, he said the corpses seen in a graphic video presented to the Council by President Zelenskyy “in no way” resemble those who reportedly had been on the ground for four days.
He implored Ukraine’s President to recognise that his country is only a pawn in the geopolitical game against the Russian Federation.
From the European perspective, said Olof Skoog, Head of the European Union delegation – which numbers most of the nations taking in millions of refugees fleeing Ukraine – Russia’s war of aggression jeopardizes the rules-based order, as well as European and global security.
He described images from Bucha as a “stain on our common humanity” and demanded that Moscow immediately stop its military aggression, unconditionally withdraw all forces from Ukraine and fully respect its territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognised borders.