The United States’ UN envoy Samantha Power has addressed Ukrainians in Kiev in a 70-minute speech criticising Russia for “spinning outright lies” to hide its aggression.
Power has been in Kiev to open a UN office to pursue the ceasefire in Ukraine according to the conditions of Minsk agreement, and to advise the EU about the continuity of Russian sanctions.
UN ambassador Power believes that Russia is aiming to undermine the pro-Western Kiev government, and has accused Russia of supporting attacks on industrial centers in eastern Ukraine to diminish Kiev’s financial resources.
Power said that “the focus on Ukraine in the Security Council is important because it gives me the chance - on behalf of the United States - to lay out the mounting evidence of Russia's aggression, its obfuscation, and its outright lies."
"And that was before Russian troops occupied Crimea [in March 2014] - something the Kremlin denied at the time, but has since admitted, and before Russia began training, arming, bankrolling, and fighting alongside its so-called separatist proxies in eastern Ukraine, something the Kremlin continues to deny."
"You are still living in the revolution, and delivering on its promise will require all the resilience, smarts and compassion you've got," added Power while addressing the Ukrainians.
Supporting the pro-Western government in Kiev, Power said that "you are not alone, the US has never left your side, and will not leave your side.”
Power also added that “if Russia continues to disregard Ukraine’s sovereignty, the US will “continue to raise the cost to Russia.”
Putin to deny Russian role in eastern Ukrainian conflict
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been denying Russia’s role in the fighting between separatists and Ukrainian government forces in eastern Ukraine.
While Power has been visiting Ukraine, Putin was in the Vatican to meet Pope Francis and discuss Ukraine and ceasefire. Both leaders "agreed on the importance of reconstructing a climate of dialogue and … implementing the Minsk accords."
Missile deployment in EU countries
Russia warned the US on Thursday to not deploy missiles in European countries.
The Russian foreign ministry stated that "it is clear that such actions would mean complete destruction by the American side of the regime of the [1987 INF] treaty with all its attendant consequences."
"We urge the United States to ensure the full implementation of the INF, [and] not to threaten the feasibility of this document," the ministry added in the statement.
The missile deployment, known as the “counterforce” policy, has been considered as a US response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its support for pro-Russian militants in the region. The policy includes sanctions as well as possible missile deployment in G7 countries.
In February, US Defense Secretary Carter said that Russia might violate the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, through testing “ground-launched cruise missiles” in areas which have been prohibited by the INF.
Russia rejected the accusation, saying the US has been the one violating the INF by erecting a missile shield in Europe.
The leaders of the G7 - the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Canada - which used to be the G8 along with Russia, held a summit last year in Rome without Russian President Vladimir Putin, as a protest against Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.