Russian Foreign Minister Sergei told the Security Council on Monday that the world has reached a more dangerous situation than even during the Cold War, minutes after the UN chief denounced Moscow’s ‘devastation’ of Ukraine to his face.
led a meeting on multilateralism and the founding UN Charter because Russia holds the monthly rotating presidency of the 15-member body for April.
‘As was case in Cold War, we have reached the dangerous, possibly even more dangerous, threshold,’ he said.
The UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres on Monday denounced the ‘devastation’ caused by Moscow’s during the Security Council meeting.
Guterres said in front of Lavrov that the was a violation of international law and is ‘causing massive suffering’ to the Ukrainian people.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on ‘Effective multilateralism through the defence of the principles of the Charter of the United Nations,’ at the UN headquarters in New York, on April 24, 2023
An employee stands next of a school building and next to a crater after a missile strike in Kramatorsk, in the Donetsk region, on April 24, 2023
He also noted that it was ‘adding to the global economic dislocation triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic’.
‘The multilateral system is under greater strain than at any time since the creation of the United Nations,’ said Guterres, adding the world faces ‘unprecedented and interlocking crises’.
‘Tensions between major powers are at an historic high.
So are the risks of conflict, through misadventure or miscalculation,’ added the UN chief, sitting next to Lavrov.
Russia organised the meeting as one of its ‘signature’ events of its tenure.
In a note to member states laying out the meeting, Russia denounced the ‘unipolar world order’ that took effect after the end of the Cold War.
It said that ‘presented a serious challenge to the efficiency and stability of the United Nations system’.
‘Today the world is facing another deep-reaching systemic transformation. Namely, natural and rapid decline of unipolar world order and the emergence of a new multipolar system,’ the note said.
The European Union’s ambassador to the UN, Olof Skoog, slammed Russia’s intentions as ‘cynical’.
‘By organising this debate Russia is trying to portray itself as a defender of the UN Charter and multilateralism.
Nothing can be further from the truth,’ he told reporters.
Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, serving as the president of the Security Council, listens as Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary General, left, speaks during a meeting of the UN Security Council, on April 24, 2023, at the United Nations headquarters
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivers remarks to reporters outside the UN Security Council at the UN headquarters in New York City on April 20, 2023
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during a Security Council meeting at the United Nations headquarters on April 24, 2023 in New York City
The Group of Seven (G7) economic powers called on Sunday for the ‘extension, full implementation and expansion’ of a critical deal to export Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea, the group’s agriculture ministers said in a communique.
Brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, the deal was signed in Istanbul last July, allowing Ukraine to export more than 27 million tonnes of grain from several of its Black Sea ports.
Russia, which invaded its neighbour in February 2022, has strongly signalled that it will not allow the deal to continue beyond May 18 because a list of demands to facilitate its own grain and fertiliser exports has not been met.
In the communique after a two-day meeting in Miyazaki, Japan, the G7 agriculture ministers ‘recognised the importance’ of the deal, saying: ‘We strongly support the extension, full implementation and expansion of (the Black Sea Grain Initiative) BSGI.’
‘We condemn Russia’s attempts to use food as a means of destabilisation and as tool of geopolitical coercion and reiterate our commitment to acting in solidarity and supporting those most affected by Russia’s weaponisation of food,’ the communique said.
G7 members ‘stand ready’ to support recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine, including by providing expertise in de-mining of agricultural land and reconstruction of agricultural infrastructure, the document said.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell expressed confidence on Monday that the bloc would finalise a plan within days to buy ammunition for Ukraine after Kyiv expressed frustration at wrangling among EU member states.
‘Yes, still there is some disagreement.
But I am sure everybody will understand that we are in a situation of extreme urgency,’ Borrell told reporters as he arrived for a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg.
‘I am sure that in the following days we will reach [an agreement],’ he said.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba expressed frustration in a tweet last week that the landmark deal sealed last month for EU countries to jointly buy artillery shells for Kyiv has not yet been implemented due to disagreements over how much of the business has to stay within Europe.
‘For Ukraine, the cost of inaction is measured in human lives,’ he warned on Thursday.
A school building damaged after a missile attack in Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, on April 24, 2023
Employees clean debris of a school building struck by a missile attack in Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, on April 24, 2023
Kuleba was expected to make his case directly to EU foreign ministers at Monday’s meeting, addressing them by video link on the state of the war triggered by Russia’s invasion last year.
Artillery rounds, particularly 155mm shells, have become critical to the conflict as Ukrainian and Russian forces wage an intense war of attrition. Officials say Kyiv is burning through more rounds than its allies can currently produce.
The joint procurement plan is part of a multi-track EU deal to get 1 million artillery shells or missiles to Ukraine within 12 months and ramp up European munitions production, approved by foreign ministers last month.
The first element is the most immediate.
If you cherished this report and you would like to get additional info with regards to eVden EVe NAkLiyAT kindly go to the website. It sets aside 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) to reimburse EU governments for sending munitions to Ukraine from existing stocks.
Borrell stressed that track was up and running. He said EU countries had already requested reimbursements for ammunition worth 600 million euros ($660 million).
But the second track, worth another 1 billion euros to fund joint procurement, has yet to be finalised.
EU officials have said they hope to sign the first contracts with arms firms at the end of next month.
EU countries agreed to buy the munitions from firms from the EU and from Norway, which has close economic ties to the bloc.
But diplomats say France, a champion of a stronger EU defence sector, with a substantial arms industry of its own, has insisted production itself should take place in Europe.
That stance has frustrated other EU members, including eastern and Baltic countries, Germany and the Netherlands.
They have expressed scepticism that European industry has the capacity to produce enough shells quickly.
Russian-appointed authorities in Crimea said the military fended off a Ukrainian strike on a main naval base on Monday, while an exploding drone was also reportedly found in a forest near Moscow – attacks that come as Ukraine is believed to be preparing for a major counteroffensive.
The Moscow-appointed head of the port city of Sevastopol in Crimea, Mikhail Razvozhayev, said the military destroyed a Ukrainian sea drone that attempted to attack the harbor in the early hours and another one blew up.
He said the powerful explosions shattered windows in several apartment buildings but didn’t inflict any other damage.
The attack was the latest in a series of attempted strikes on Sevastopol, the main naval base in Crimea that Russia illegally annexed in 2014.
Ukrainian authorities didn’t immediately comment on Monday’s strikes.
After previous attacks on Sevastopol and other areas, Ukrainian officials stopped short of openly claiming responsibility but emphasized the country’s right to strike any target in response to the Russian aggression.
Russian news reports also claimed on Monday that a Ukrainian exploding drone was found in a forest in a forest about 30 kilometres (about 19 miles) east of the Russian capital.
While it didn’t explode, the incident again underscored Ukraine’s capability to reach deep inside Russia as the Ukrainian military is thought to be preparing for a spring counteroffensive to reclaim occupied areas.
Service members from a 3rd separate assault brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine fire a howitzer D30 at a front line, near the city of Bakhmut, Ukraine on April 23, 2023
Ukrainian soldiers fire targets on the front line in the direction of the city of Ugledar, Donetsk, Ukraine, on April 18, 2023
Observers believe that the counteroffensive’s most likely target would be the Russian-held parts of the southern Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.
If the push is successful, it would allow Ukraine to cut the land corridor between Russia and Crimea.
In what could be preparations for such a move, Ukrainian forces have recently established a foothold near the town of Oleshky on the eastern bank of the Dnieper River, according to the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank.
Ukraine has recently received sophisticated weapons from its Western allies, and new troops freshly trained in the West, giving rise to growing anticipation of an offensive.
American-made Patriot missiles arrived in Ukraine last week and military spokesman Yuriy Ihnat said Sunday on Ukrainian television that some have already gone into service.
Speaking after talks on Monday with visiting Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas in the northwestern city of Zhytomyr, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky commended the Baltic nation for its decision to hand over all of its 122-mm and 155-mm howitzers to Ukraine.
‘If each of the leaders and each of the states were as conscientious about the protection of our common freedom on the continent, Russia’s aggression would have already known obvious defeats,’ Zelensky said.
The Russian forces, meanwhile, have continued their nearly nine-month effort to capture the Ukrainian stronghold of Bakhmut in the eastern Donetsk region.
Zelensky emphasized the importance of defending Bakhmut in an interview last month with The Associated Press, saying that its fall could allow Russia to rally international support for a deal that might require Kyiv to make unacceptable compromises.
Ukraine and Russia have both described the fighting for Bakhmut, the war’s longest battle, as key to exhausting enemy forces and preventing them from pressing attacks elsewhere along the 1,000-kilometre (620-mile) front line.
On Monday, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the millionaire owner of the Wagner Group military contractor that has spearheaded the Russian offensive in Bakhmut, claimed that Ukrainian forces have been pushed into a two-square-kilometre (less than one square mile) western section of the city.
His claim couldn’t be independently verified.
‘Our task is to grind the Ukrainian army down and prevent it from mounting a counteroffensive,’ Prigozhin said.
He predicted that Ukraine will likely launch a counteroffensive during the next couple of weeks once the ground dries enough to allow tanks and other heavy vehicles to freely move off roads.
Ukraine’s military intelligence chief, Major General Kyrylo Budanov, in an interview with RBC-Ukraine, described the planned counteroffensive as a ‘landmark battle in Ukraine’s modern history’ that will see the country ‘reclaim significant areas’.
‘Everybody understands that we are getting close to it,’ he said.
Russian military bloggers speculated that a Ukrainian counteroffensive could be accompanied by a slew of drone attacks on broad areas.
Russian media identified the drone that fell near Moscow as a Ukrainian-made UJ-22 Airborne.
They said it was found Sunday by a local resident. The reports alleged that the drone crashed after running out of fuel or hitting a tree. They said it carried 17 kilograms (37 pounds) of explosives.
The UJ-22 is a small reconnaissance drone that can carry about 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of explosives and has a range of autonomous flight of up to 800 kilometres (about 500 miles).
Last month, another drone that the authorities suspected also came from Ukraine was found in Shchelkovo, about 15 kilometres northeast of Moscow, although it didn’t carry explosives.
Citizens walk past the residential building on Pershotravneva Street destroyed by airstrike of Russian forces on April 22, 2023 in Izium, Ukraine.
Since the beginning of the war, the Russians have constantly bombed Izium, destroying and damaging 80 per cent of the infrastructure
Also in March, a heavy Ukrainian Tu-141 Strizh jet-powered drone exploded in the city of Kireyevsk in the Tula region about 200 kilometres east of Moscow, injuring three, leaving a big crater and damaging several buildings.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the drone was brought down by air defenses.
Russian authorities have said that Ukraine has used the Soviet-made Tu-141 drones that have a range of about 1,000 kilometres to strike facilities in Russia.
In December, such drones hit two Russian air bases for long-range, nuclear-capable bombers. The Russian Defense Ministry said the drones were shot down, but it acknowledged that the debris damaged some aircraft and killed several servicemen.
In February, the authorities also reported that a Ukrainian drone was found in a forest near Gubastovo in the Kolomna region, about 80 kilometres southeast of Moscow.
The drone fell close to a major natural gas pumping facility, its apparent target.
Another drone exploded in February in a forest near Kaluga, about 150 kilometres southeast of Moscow, hurting no one.
Ukraine’s presidential office said on Monday that at least four civilians were killed and 13 wounded by the latest Russian attacks over the previous 24 hours.
Two people were killed in Bakhmut and two others in the southern city of Kherson.
Global military spending grew for the eighth consecutive year in 2022 to an all-time high of $2.24 trillion, with a sharp rise in Europe, chiefly due to Russian and Ukrainian expenditure, a Swedish think tank said on Monday.
Spending globally increased by 3.7 per cent in real terms, but military expenditure in Europe was up 13 per cent – its steepest year-on-year increase in at least 30 years, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or evdEn eVe NAkliyAt SIPRI, said in a report.
Military aid to Ukraine and concerns about a heightened threat from Russia ‘strongly influenced many other states’ spending decisions’.
The independent Swedish watchdog said that last year, the three largest arms spenders were the United States, China and Russia, who between them accounted for 56 per cent of global expenditure.
‘The rise is a sign that we are living in an increasingly insecure world,’ said Nan Tian, a researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Program.
Several states significantly increased their military spending following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while others announced plans to raise spending levels over periods of up to a decade.
Some of the sharpest increases were seen in countries near Russia: Finland (36 per cent), Lithuania (27 per cent), Sweden (12 per cent) and Poland (11 per cent).
Both Sweden and Finland jointly applied for NATO membership in May 2022, abandoning decades of nonalignment in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
While Finland has been admitted, Sweden’s bid to join NATO remains stalled by opposition from Turkey and Hungary.
‘While the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 certainly affected military spending decisions in 2022, concerns about Russian aggression have been building for much longer,’ said Lorenzo Scarazzato, a researcher with SIPRI’s Military Expenditure and Arms Production Program.
He added: EvDeN eve NaKLiyAT ‘Many former Eastern bloc states have more than doubled their military spending since 2014, the year when Russia annexed Crimea.’
Russia also has increased its military spending.
SIPRI said that grew by an estimated 9.2 per cent in 2022, to around $86.4 billion. That is equivalent to 4.1 per cent of Russia’s gross domestic product in 2022, up from 3.7 per cent the previous year.