Blinken calls out Russia for ‘fake referendum’ to annex parts of Ukraine and ‘reckless nuclear threats’

United Nations – In a meeting designed to be a face-to-face confrontation between the US, Russia and top diplomats UkraineSecretary of State Antony Blinken delivered a stern message to Russia and the world’s major powers that “reckless nuclear threats must be stopped immediately”.

His remarks echoed President Biden gave a speech to the United Nations on Wednesday, in which Mr. Biden accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of “making irresponsible threats to use nuclear weapons.” Just hours before, Putin ordered a partial mobilization hundreds of thousands of additional Russian troops and suggested the possible use of nuclear weapons.

In his speech on Thursday, Blinken also quoted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who On Wednesday, pre-recorded replies were heard in the hall of the general assemblysaying, “Diplomacy is the only way to end this war.”

“Diplomacy cannot and must not be used as a cudgel to force a solution on Ukraine that is contrary to the UN Charter or to reward Russia for its violation,” added Blinken.

He then described what he called Russia’s “diabolical strategy” to uproot Ukrainians and relocate Russian citizens to Russian-occupied land; organizing a “fake referendum”; annexation of territory; and then protecting the areas it considers its territory.

“One man chose this war. One man can end it,” Blinken said, referring to Putin. “Because when Russia stops fighting, the war ends. When Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine ends.”

Blinken’s speech was delivered to the 15-nation Security Council in United Nations General Assembly. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was not present in the hall for Blinken’s remarks. He arrived to give his speech and left right after.

In his speech, Lavrov accused Western countries – referring to the United States, France and Germany – of “imposing a completely different narrative about Russian aggression” and cited alleged rights violations by “mercenaries” “who are citizens of the United Kingdom and Canada, the United States and the Netherlands.” He also referred to unspecified “threats to Russian security.”

The result was clear to most of the countries demanding diplomatic efforts – that a diplomatic solution to Russia’s war against Ukraine did not materialize during the meeting.

France, as the September Presidency of the Council, convened the meeting. French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna accused Russia of “unspeakable crimes” and called for accountability. International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan told the council that the ICC is sending investigators to Ukraine to look into allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity, after launching an investigation six months ago.

When Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba arrived to speak on Thursday, he said “there will be no peace without justice” and repeated his president’s call for a special tribunal.

Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told reporters at the United Nations on Wednesday that Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, Ukraine’s Zaporizhia, was shot down this week, saying: “We are playing with fire.”

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi backed calls for an investigation into violations of international law at Thursday’s council meeting, urging restraint. China’s foreign minister did not plan to attend the high-level UN session, the mission told CBS News. But he will now meet with Blinken on Friday, the State Department said, to discuss “a range of bilateral and global issues”.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping admitted without elaborating.worries” about the battles in Ukraine in mid-September.

UN Secretary General António Guterres, who was in charge mediation of the grain deal between Ukraine and Russia in July, was skeptical about the peace agreement.

“Russia’s war in Ukraine shows no signs of letting up,” he said, adding that the seven-month war had “seen untold suffering and devastation.”

Lavrov is expected to address the General Assembly on Friday.