Feb 21, 2022 - World

U.S. accuses Russia at Security Council meeting of "creating pretext for war"

US Permanent Representative to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield briefs media after Security Council meeting on situation on Ukraine-Russia tensions at UN Headquarters.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield briefs the media at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting on Monday night after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized two breakaway "republics" in eastern Ukraine as independent.

Driving the news: The rare nighttime meeting was called at the request of Ukraine, the U.S. and several other countries, including the United Kingdom and France. Undersecretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo said at the session's opening that "the risk of major conflict is real and needs to be prevented at all costs."

What they're saying: Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., took issue at the meeting with Putin's description of Russian military activity in the breakaway provinces as "peacekeeping operations."

  • "This is nonsense," she said. "We know what they really are," Thomas-Greenfield added, accusing Russia of "creating a pretext for war."
  • Zhang Jun, China's representative said at the meeting that "all parties concerned must exercise restraint and avoid any action that may fuel tensions."

Go deeper: Biden imposes sanctions over Putin's recognition of breakaway Ukraine regions

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from DiCarlo, Thomas-Greenfield and Zhang.

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