U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Wednesday said there is “no middle ground” in responding to Russia’s incursion into Ukraine and urged countries to stand together against Moscow’s latest provocation.
In a speech before the United Nations General Assembly, Thomas-Greenfield urged other member states to recognize “the threat before us all today before it’s too late.”
“Colleagues, there is no middle ground here. Calling for both sides to de-escalate only gives Russia a pass. Russia is the aggressor here,” Thomas-Greenfield added.
Thomas-Greenfield said that “history tells us that looking the other way is ultimately the more costly path.”
“Now is the time to get off the sidelines. Let us together show Russia that it is isolated and alone in its aggressive actions. Let us stand fully behind the principles of sovereignty, political independence and territorial integrity for Ukraine, and for all member states,” she said.
She said the past decade has illustrated the path Russia is on and called Russia’s 2014 occupation of the Crimean Peninsula an “illegal invasion.” She added Moscow has been “manufacturing and fueling ongoing military conflicts in eastern Ukraine.”
According to Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. estimates show the path Russia is on could create a new refugee crisis, with as many as 5 million more people displaced by Russia’s “war of choice” that is putting “pressure on Ukraine’s neighbors.”
She added that together, the countries can make it clear that Russia will pay “an even steeper price” if it continues its aggression.
“That responsible countries do not bully their neighbors into submission. That former empires cannot lay claim to sovereign and independent nations,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
Some member states, like India, said they were watching the latest developments along Ukraine’s eastern border and Russia’s recognition of separatist states in the Donbas region “with deep concern.”
India, however, stopped short of criticizing Moscow’s actions, according to Indian newspaper The Hindu.
China on Wednesday also accused the United States of “raising tensions” and “creating panic” over the Ukraine crisis, CBS News reported.
The United States’ Western allies, however, including the United Kingdom and European Union, have called Russia’s actions an attack on Ukrainian sovereignty and levied a variety of sanctions on Moscow.