Blinken accuses Putin of committing ‘aggression’ in Ukraine; Russia blames US for ‘Russophobia’
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has accused Vladimir Putin of committing “aggression” in Ukraine and demanded the Russian president be held to account for it, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the US and its allies are victims of "Russophobia."
"The very international order we've gathered here to uphold is being shredded before our eyes," Blinken told the UN Security Council in a special session on Wednesday as leaders met at the United Nations in New York.
"We cannot -- we will not -- let President Putin get away with it," Blinken declared.
The top US diplomat accused the Russian leader of adding "fuel to the fire" with recent steps including announcing a partial mobilization in Russia, where Putin said that his country is now fighting “the entire Western military machine” in Ukraine.
“If the territorial integrity of our nation is threatened, we will certainly use all the means that we have to defend Russia and our people,” Putin said in his address on Wednesday. He called up reservists and planned referendums in Russian-held Ukrainian territory.
Blinken said it was critical to show that "no nation can redraw the borders of another by force."
"If we fail to defend this principle when the Kremlin is so flagrantly violating it, we send the message to aggressors everywhere that they can ignore it, too,” he added.
Lavrov denounced US accusations.
"There's an attempt today to impose on us a completely different narrative about Russian aggression as the origin of this tragedy," Lavrov told the Security Council.
He accused the US and its allies of "Russophobia.”
"The United States and their allies with the connivance of international human rights organizations have been covering the crimes of the Kiev regime," Lavrov said.
This came after US President Joe Biden warned Putin against thoughts of using nuclear weapons in Ukraine, adding that it would “change the face of war unlike anything since WWII.”
Biden said on Friday Moscow would become a global pariah if it uses weapons of mass destruction on the former Soviet state.
In an interview with a US media outlet, Biden was asked what his message to Putin would be if he felt the best way to operate in Ukraine was to use nuclear or chemical weapons against Kiev's forces.
The US president replied "don't, don't, don't", and adding that such a decision would "change the face of war unlike anything since World War Two".
If Russia launches a nuclear or chemical attack on Ukraine, it would “become more of a pariah in the world than they ever have been,” and America’s response would depend “on the extent of what they do,” Biden said in the interview with CBS News.