One of the most bitter meetings of the UN Security Council in recent memory
Britain has accused Russia of committing “war crimes” in Syria as world powers rounded on Moscow in one of the most bitter meetings of the UN Security Council in recent memory.
As Russian jets took part in what rebels called the “scorched earth bombing” of Aleppo, Western powers charged Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, with deliberately undermining peace talks and flouting its historic responsibilities to the United Nations.
The almost complete rupture of relations between Russia and the Western powers played out in angry scenes at the UN’s New York headquarters, where Britain, France and the US openly condemned Russia as “an international pariah”.
The exchanges marked the effective collapse of the US-led Syria peace process that had tried to get to Russia to use its influence in Syria to help bring an end to the six-year war that has now claimed around 400,000 lives.
With a US-backed no-fly zone and other military intervention ruled out by President Obama, Britain, France and the US launched the diplomatic onslaught in an attempt to shame Russia into helping to end the suffering.
Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, urged the powers to work to “end the nightmare” singling out Russia’s use of bunker-busting bombs to hit schools and hospitals operating in basements.
“How much longer will all those with influence allow such cruelty to continue?” Mr Ban said.
Earlier, Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, said Russia may have committed war crimes by bombing a UN aid convoy last week and accused President Putin of not only “handing the revolver” to the Assad regime, but also helping to pull the trigger.
Credit: George Ourfalian /GETTY
In a display of disgust towards the Assad regime, Matthew Rycroft, the British ambassador to the UN, walked out of a specially convened Security Council meeting when the Syrian ambassador rose to speak.
“In short, it is difficult to deny that Russia is partnering with the Syrian regime to carry out war crimes.”
Mr Rycroft also hinted that Western powers must now consider coercive measures to force Russia to back away.
“We must now do more than demand or urge. We must now decide what we can do to enforce end to bombardment,” he said, without providing details.
The West could now consider economic sanctions or a diplomatic move against Russia to try to force it to change course.
Russia denied the Western charges and accused Western-backed rebel groups of causing the breakdown of the ceasefire. Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, said Russian forces were guilty of “barbarism” for using bunker-busting bombs.
“Russia would have this Council live in upside-down land where bombing first responders, cutting off humanitarian aid and supporting a murderous regime is billed as counterterrorism,” she said.
“What Russia is sponsoring and doing is not counterterrorism; it is barbarism.”
Peace and Freedom Commentary
Was Hitler ashamed of what he was doing?
Does anyone in their right mind think that former KGB man Vladimir Putin will be “shamed” at the United Nations?
Not a chance. He is a man who who believes in winners (himself) and losers (President Barack Obama).
Putin enjoys huge popularity at home in Russia. He is seen as a Russian strong man putting Russia back into a place of honor and respect in the world. He has beaten the West in everything he has tried. He took Crimea and made it part of Russia. He has been engaged in a long insurgency in eastern Ukraine.
But Putin’s real place of honor in the eyes of the Russian people is this: When President Barack Obama and the United States established a “red line” for the use of chemical weapons in Syria by President Assad’s forces — and then backed away from that “red line” — Putin charged in to seize the initiative in Syria.
Obama said Putin would find himself in a quagmire in Syria. But President Obama was wrong on that. Putin is showing his power, as Russians have always known it. He is an unrelenting killer.
In Russia, and elsewhere, Barack Obama is seen as “weak and useless.”
And that pretty much summarizes the last almost 8 years of U.S. foreign policy.
Putin doesn’t care if anyone calls him a war criminal or a killer. His job is to win for Russia and any allies that Russia can support.
Whatever the White House “narrative” may be is divorced from reality. The truth is America has mostly been impotent and stronger men like Vladimir Putin jumped right into the void created by the American president’s weakness.
For better or worse, that is where we find ourselves. That is where we are.
It is also fair to say that the U.S. has “lost” one of its top allies in Asia. Philippine President Duterte, another man with no use for weakness, has decided his people might be better off in the loving embrace of China.
With North Korea still testing nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles, and China now a major military power in Asia, China is making life hard for Japan — another top U.S. ally.
We are sure Xi Jinping in China and President Putin in Russia are sad to see the end of President Obama’s time in the White House. Both Putin and Mr. Xi have spread their wings in the world for the last eight years while increasing their military strength.
The weak may inherit the earth. But that will happen only after the strong blow it up….
Tags: Aleppo, Assad, Ban Ki-moon, barbarism, Bashar al-Assad, Boris Johnson, Britain, British ambassador to the UN, ceasefire, chemical weapons, Duterte, France, international pariah, John Kerry, Lavrov, Matthew Rycroft, no fly zone, Obama’s ‘pivot to Asia’ has failed, Philippines, pivot to Asia, President Obama, President Putin, red line, Russia, Samantha Power, the Foreign Secretary, US, US ambassador to the UN, US-backed no-fly zone, Vladimir Putin