US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield introduced a resolution condemning Russia over the so-called referendums being carried out in four regions of Ukraine and declaring that the UN Security Council does not support the use of force to redraw borders during a security council meeting on Tuesday, a US official told CNN.
The resolution – introduced by the US and Albania jointly – is expected to be largely symbolic as Russia will almost certainly veto it. But Thomas-Greenfield said the US will look to bring the vote to the UN General Assembly if Russia “chooses to shield itself from accountability.” The resolution would also obligate Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine, Thomas-Greenfield said.
Behind the scenes US diplomats will engage with all nations in the security council, including diplomats from China and India, in an effort to get them to vote in favor, the official said.
Thomas-Greenfield said that Russia intends to annex the territories in an effort to take the territory of another UN member country by force, which the UN charter was designed to prevent, according to the US official.
“Instead of attending high-level week, Putin announced a renewed conscription effort in Russia and instructed areas under Russia’s military control to prepare for illegitimate snap referenda. He did send an emissary – who threatened the use of nuclear weapons, on a non-nuclear country, to secure Russia’s illegitimate military gains. The purpose of all this is clear: Russia intends to try to annex these territories and Russia does not respect this body,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
She also asked the members of the security council to join the US in confronting the challenge before Russia moves ahead with annexations.
“Russia’s sham referenda, if accepted, will open a pandora’s box that we cannot close. We ask you to join us in reaffirming our commitment to the UN Charter and meeting this challenge head-on,” she said.
Thomas-Greenfield said the stakes are high.
“This is about defending the UN Charter. This is about defending our collective rights. And this is about peace and security for us all,” she said.
US officials have repeatedly said they will not accept the outcome of the “sham” referendums, which they believe Russia will use as a pretext to annex those parts of Ukraine. The Biden administration is also preparing a response once Russia annexes the regions, CNN reported Monday.
The introduction of this resolution comes after both President Volodymyr Zelensky and President Joe Biden called for changes to the UNSC during the UN General Assembly last week. Zelensky called into question why Russia is a permanent member and called on the council to punish Russia.
“Reject the right to vote. Deprive delegation rights. Remove the right of veto – if it is a Member of the UN Security Council. In order to punish the aggressor within the institutions,” Zelensky said.
This story has been updated with additional details Tuesday.