The United States, Britain, and France on Monday, 21 February, asked the UN Security Council to convene a meeting over the unfolding crisis in Ukraine, after Russia recognised the independence of rebel regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine.
United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, opened the meeting expressing "great concern and sadness."
Council members Albania, Ireland, Norway, and Mexico extended their support to the 15-member body meeting on Monday, Reuters quoted the diplomats as saying.
As the current president of the UN body, Russia was responsible for scheduling the meeting.
"We regret the order today to deploy Russian troops into Eastern Ukraine, reportedly on a 'peacekeeping mission'," Rosemary DiCarlo stated further at the meeting in New York.
'Clearly a Pretext To Further Invade Ukraine': US at UNSC Meet
At the meeting, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield stated that President Vladimir Putin's move "clearly creates a pretext for further invasion of Ukraine," the consequences of which will be felt "far beyond Ukraine's borders."
She added that the Russian president was "testing our resolve" and wanted to "demonstrate that through force, he can make a farce of the UN."
Asserting that the US would ensure that Russia faced accountability, she indicated Washington's resolve to impose sanctions on the nuclear power.
Speaking at the meeting, United Kingdom Ambassador Barbara Woodward also indicated that the UK "will be announcing new sanctions on Russia in response to its breach of international law and attack on Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," adding that "there will be severe economic consequences to its actions."
"This Council must be united in: calling on Russia to de-escalate immediately; condemning aggression against a sovereign nation, and defending the territorial integrity of Ukraine."
The Indian Permanent Representative (PR) to the UN, TS Tirumurti, offered no direct condemnation of the move, saying that the actions in the border regions could have the "potential to undermine peace and security of the region" and that we cannot "afford to have a military escalation."
What Russia Said
Meanwhile, Russia's UN Ambassador, Vasily Nebenzya, disputed the "very emotional statements, categorical assessments and far-reaching conclusions" made by the member states and urged them to concentrate on "how to avoid war."
"In accordance with the agreements signed today by Luhansk and Donetsk People's Republics…the functions of maintaining peace in their territories will be carried out by the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation," the Russian ambassador stated.