Russian diplomat leaves U.N. meeting after claims of sexual violence in Ukraine

A United Nations Security Council meeting on Ukraine was convened Monday to discuss Russia's invasion. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
1 of 3 | A United Nations Security Council meeting on Ukraine was convened Monday to discuss Russia's invasion. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

June 6 (UPI) -- Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia walked out of a Security Council meeting on Monday as European Council President Charles Michel accused Moscow of being wholly responsible for exasperating the global food crisis with its war in Ukraine.

The council's 15-member states convened in Washington for a meeting focused on the effects of Russia's war on women.


Michel addressed Nebenzia when he got up to leave near the end of the meeting.

"You may leave the room. Maybe it's easier not to listen to the truth, Mr. Ambassador," Michel said.

Nebenzia had just spoken to the council and rejected accusations that Russia's military has committed sexual crimes in Ukraine during its military campaign, which Moscow has described as a "special" operation to "de-Nazify" and demilitarize the former Soviet republic.

"We refute all allegations against Russian military with regard to sexual violence," Nebenzia said. "This is a lie that we strongly reject."

Russia launched its war against Ukraine on Feb. 24 and the fighting has led to 4,100 civilian deaths and nearly 5,000 injured, according to U.N. data. Millions have been forced to flee the country due to the violence.


The invasion has deepened a global food crisis, as the warring nations produce nearly a third of the world's wheat and barley and half of all sunflower oil.

"In the past year, global food prices have risen by nearly one-third, fertilizer by more than half and oil prices by almost two-thirds," U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said last month.

During the council meeting Monday, Michel also accused Moscow of manipulating food supplies as a "stealth missile" against developing nations.

"The dramatic consequences of Russia's war are spilling over across the globe. And this is driving up food prices, pushing people into poverty and destabilizing entire regions," he said. "Russia is solely responsible for this food crisis -- Russia alone."

Michel told the council that during his recent trip to Ukraine he saw millions of tons of grain and wheat in containers and on ships that couldn't be exported due mainly to Russian warships in the Black Sea and attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure.

"It is Russian tanks, Russian bombs and mines that are preventing Ukraine from planting and harvesting," he added.

Michel also accused Russian forces of targeting grain storage and stealing Ukrainian grain.

"This is cowardly. This is pure and simple propaganda," he said.


Dmitry Polyanskiy, first deputy to the permanent representative of Russia to the U.N., accused Michel of exhibiting "low professional standards" and a "lack of manners."

"We came here to listen to the truth," Polyanskiy tweeted. "But EU clearly doesn't need it and we heard only cheeky lies and unsubstantiated claims."

Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine's permanent representative to the U.N., thanked Michel for his comments.

"Nebenzia running away from the Security Council was quite an entertainment today in the chamber otherwise filled with toxicity of Russian drooling lies," he tweeted.

War in Ukraine: Scenes from Kharkiv

A woman eats food given to her by volunteers at a food delivery station run by a Hare Krishna group in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on May 20, 2022. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

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