Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Russian officials have made chilling speeches at the United Nations Security Council in New York, but what Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, announced on Monday has no doubt bothered even the most seasoned makers of the panel. Nothing reported from Ukraine is true, he said without concern. The Bucha atrocities, where dozens of civilians were murdered? Were staged by “Ukrainian Nazis”. The Kramatorsk station attack that also killed children? Was perpetrated by the Ukrainians themselves. Polyansky read these words from the page without blinking.
The British currently hold the monthly rotating presidency of the Council and they have called a meeting to discuss the situation in Ukraine, with particular reference to the plight of women and children. Polyansky also commented on this topic. “We see the intention to portray Russian soldiers as sadists and rapists,” he said. He was referring to the dozens of reports of rape and torture by Russian soldiers. Polyansky explained that these reports were based on “Russophobia”. On the contrary, women are particularly suffering because Ukraine is controlled by the Nazis.
The more Polyansky talked, the more absurd his presentation became. The West has unleashed an information war against Russia that is as bad as what is happening in Ukraine. What is happening in Ukraine are atrocities committed by Ukrainians. “Even experienced Russian soldiers are shocked by what they see there,” he said.
Polyansky repeatedly spoke of the “Nazis” who controlled the country and from whom Ukraine had to be liberated. Not only do these “Nazis” endanger the security of Russia, but also that of its other neighbors, which is why these countries are also helped by the “Special Military Operation”. It almost seemed like Polyansky wanted to demand gratitude at this point. He mentioned Poland by name, which, given the Russian-Polish history, can only be noted with an icy chill.
Diplomats yearn for calm
In a speech of this caliber, it was only a matter of time before Polyansky found himself with Hitler’s propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, and sure enough, he was soon heard to say that Goebbels would have been proud of Ukrainian propaganda ambitions but disappointed with performance. After all, it is obvious that the Ukrainians only staged all the horrors. Russia is in no way waging a war against the civilian population. It is sad that Ukraine has reached this level of cruelty. At the cynical climax of his speech, Polyansky said, “And don’t say later that we didn’t warn you.”
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From all this, Polyansky concludes that the Russian action was more important than ever and was therefore pursued with force. The “special military operation”, as he repeatedly called it Russia’s war of aggression, was necessary for “the future of Ukraine”. Finally, he said, he wanted to end on an optimistic note: there is another Ukraine, and thanks to Russia’s actions, it now has a chance for peace.
The other Security Council diplomats tried to keep their cool. The British representative spoke of “extraordinary statements” by Polyansky, “and even lies”. The Albanian ambassador said that if the Russian representative says that there is no war against civilians, it is like saying that the earth is flat. Some people would believe this, but the vast majority knew it was not the truth. The Ukrainian representative said that trust in Russian diplomats was dead (literally using the English idiom “dead as a doornail”).
Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield spoke on behalf of the United States. She said: “When men like Vladimir Putin start wars, women are raped and killed. Children are killed.” Interesting detail: she spoke explicitly about “Russia’s war”, whereas until recently “Putin’s war” was the common expression. She said Ukrainian girls cut their hair short in hopes of avoiding being raped by Russian soldiers. And she announced an immediate intervention, which means that humanitarian aid would be provided immediately. She didn’t say what it should look like in practice.
Although Germany is not currently a member of the Security Council, German UN Ambassador Antje Leendertse was invited to deliver a statement at the end of the three-hour meeting. First, she read an enumeration of the horrors that Russian soldiers have unleashed in parts of Ukraine; it seemed like she wanted to counter the Russian representative’s speech at the end. She then assured that Germany would provide its full support to bring the perpetrators to justice. Polyansky had already left the meeting by then.