Ukraine Delegation Walks Out of Vladimir Putin’s UN Speech

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

The Ukraine delegation walked out of Monday’s UN General Assembly meeting when Russian President Vladimir Putin took the stage. The two countries have been involved in a war since March 2014, when the Kremlin annexed Crimea and invaded eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s delegation spoke to Christopher Miller at Mashable:

Other Ukrainians brought in a bloody and tattered country flag from the Ilovaisk battle. In August 2014, Ukrainian forces and volunteers attempted to recapture Ilovaisk from the pro-Russian forces. However, the rebels quickly outnumbered the Ukrainian forces. To retreat, those forces agreed to certain terms with the rebels. But the rebels opened fire on the troops as they left, killing hundreds of soldiers. The rebels wounded and kidnapped many more.

Putin barely mentioned Ukraine in his UN speech, even though the conflict has exacerbated tensions between Russia and the West. He blamed Ukraine’s problems on NATO’s desire to expand and once again insisted an outside force caused the overthrow of then-President Viktor Yanukovych.

“This is exactly what happened in Ukraine where the discontent of population with the current authorities was used and a military coup was orchestrated from outside that triggered a civil war as a result,” he said, adding:

We are confident that only through full and faithful implementation of the Minsk Agreements of February 12, 2015, can we put an end to the bloodshed and find a way out of deadlock. Ukraine’s territorial integrity cannot be ensured by threats and force of arms. What is needed is a genuine consideration for the interests and rights of the people in the Donbass region, and respect their choice.

On Sunday, the Russian delegation walked out of Poroshenko’s speech at the UN summit on sustainable development.

“We left the meeting hall in protest against his openly politicized and aggressive speech which had nothing to do with the summit’s topic,” explained one diplomat.

Poroshenko spoke about the conflict in the east during his speech. He claimed the war costs Ukraine at least $5 million a day, which causes the country to lose “about one fifth of its economic potential.” According to him, the war “has led to the emergence of a new form of poverty, sudden or unexpected poverty.”


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