Russia took action to defend Donbass – says Russia’s ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya

This morning Gorlovka in the Donbass was shelled by Ukrainian troops – Russia has intervened to defend the region

RUSSIA’S ambassador to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya, spoke at the emergency special session of the UN General Assembly in New York yesterday, defending Russia’s actions in the Ukraine.

This was only the 11th emergency session since the first in 1956, involving all 193 member countries.

He said: ‘The root of the current crisis lies in the actions of Ukraine itself.

‘For many years Ukraine sabotaged and flouted its direct obligations under the Minsk Agreement.

‘They refused to engage in dialogue about implementation of the Agreements. They are unwilling to grant special status to the people of the Donbass region, set out in the Minsk Agreements.’

He said: ‘This persuaded us of the fact that we no longer have a right to allow the residents of Donbass to suffer any further.

‘Provocations against the people of Donbass did not end – in fact they escalated.

‘The Leaderships of the People’s Republic of Donetsk and Lugansk turned to us with a request to deliver military support in line with bilateral agreements and cooperation which was arrived at after recognition.’

He added: ‘We will continue to hold to account those who are responsible for the brutal crimes that were carried out against the people of Donbass. The ongoing shelling has driven refugees to flood into Russia.

‘The worsening suffering of the residents of Donbass is something which Western powers at the General Assembly ignored. There was no empathy whatsoever, no compassion for the people of Donbass.

‘As a result, the Russian President took a decision for a Special Military Operation to be carried out. The occupation of Ukraine is not part of these plans.

‘The goal of this operation is to protect the people who, for eight years, were subjected to torment and genocide at the hands of the Kiev regime.

‘To that end, there is a need to demilitarise and denazify the Kiev regime.’

Nebenzya stressed: ‘Russia has been exercising its right to self-defence from a regime that is striving to gain nuclear weapons.

‘The President of the Ukraine exclusively stated this.

‘At the same time, this regime is seeking membership of NATO. This is a red line for Russia.

‘The West,’ he said, ‘has shamelessly inundated the country with weapons, has sent trainers into the Ukraine, inciting Kiev, egging it on.’

‘Nato members should think three times before proudly stating that Georgia and Ukraine will join Nato.

‘In 2014, there was a brutal, unconstitutional coup … seizing power and raining bombs on the people of Donbass.

‘Ukrainian death squads, comprised primarily of neo-nazis, have been shelling Donbass for eight years.’

He concluded: ‘Russia is aiming to end this war.’

Meanwhile, talks between Ukrainian and Russian officials finished yesterday on the Ukraine/Belarus border with both sides going back to discuss proposals with the plan to reconvene.

• See editorial