Ukraine, the exchange of accusations at the UN The ambassador of Kiev: “Colleague, you will end up in hell”

Of Michele Farina

Sergiy Kyslytsya verbally attacks Vassilij Nebenzia, who invokes for his country “the right to self-defense” and announces: “This is not a war”

Bombs and words: the exchange of blows at the UN Security Council in New York represents the only contact “in presence” between two countries at war. The Ukrainian ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya speaks in English in a loud, indignant voice, with his elbows wide on the desk and his hands resting on his arms: “Colleagues, it’s too late to talk about de-escalation. The Russian president has declared war on Ukraine ”. Kyslytsya raises the smartphone and addresses the Russian ambassador with a defiant tone: “I have to show you your president’s video? Ambassador, do I have to do this now? Can you confirm it? ». Then he lowers the phone, his hands go back to his arms. He passes a few seconds. His is meant to be a rhetorical question. Which, however, is not caught by the Russian counterpart: Vassilij Nebenzia, 60, permanent representative of Moscow since 2017 at the Security Council after the sudden death of the dean of Russian diplomacy at the UN Vitaly Churkin, reaches out to press the microphone button and answer. But the Ukrainian replies: “Don’t interrupt me while I’m talking, thank you.” The Russian replies in English: “Then don’t ask me any questions while you speak. Continue with your statement ».

Yes, because the irony of fate wants the Russian ambassador to lead the meeting: he is the one who chairs the UN Security Council for the month of February, where Moscow has the power of veto together with four other great powers: United States, Great Britain, France and China. And then the Ukrainian ambassador continues: «In any case, you have declared war, and it is the responsibility of this Council to stop it. So I ask all of you to do everything possible to stop the war ».

When it comes to the Russian ambassador, the tone is differentinversely proportional to the aggressiveness of Putin’s speech and the Russian fighters bombing Ukraine. Nebenzia, who began his diplomatic activity as attaché to the Soviet embassy in Thailand between 1988 and 1990, between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet empire, speaks wearily with the surgical mask covering his face , having in front of the two signs with the inscriptions in English: Russian Federation and President. Nebenzia plays with words speaking in Russian: “This is not a war but a special military operation in the Donbass.”

The Ukrainian replied shortly after taking him head on: “As president (of the Security Council), do your duty: call Putin, call Lavrov, and ask them to stop the aggression“. Then Kyslytsya turns to the entire Council: «We approve the choice of some countries that have asked for a meeting to take decisions and condemn your aggression against my people. There is no escape for war criminals, ambassador, they end up headed for hell“. The Russian collects and replies in a low, monotonous voice, as if we were not talking about war but about a linguistic misunderstanding, a bureaucratic formality, a meeting like any other. A few words that scoff at the UN house of cards: Nebenzia justifies the Russian attack on the basis of Article 51 of the UN Charter, calling into question the right to “self-defense”. And before adjourning the session: “I want to conclude by saying that we are not aggressive against the Ukrainian people, but against the junta in power in Kiev”.
We know that Ukrainian President Zelensky tried to talk to Putin on the phone last night. We know that the Russian leader’s speech was pre-recorded last Monday. The exchange of words at the Security Council between the two ambassadors, thousands of kilometers away, in the glass bubble of the UN building, is the only and last form of direct contact between enemies. A dialogue between the deaf staged “in presence”a theater of the absurd with helpless spectators.


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