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US Ambassador to UN: Russia will be held accountable for its war crimes
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield told journalists that Russia would ultimately be held accountable for its war crimes during her visit to Kyiv on Nov. 8.
She said the U.S. had done everything possible to isolate Russia in the U.N.'s Security Council and General Assembly, adding Russia had heard "loudly and clearly" that its invasion and illegal annexations of the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts was "unacceptable."
"While they do have the veto power (in the Security Council), they've never been able to veto our condemnation, our voices," Thomas-Greenfield said. "While they have the veto power, that veto power is not shielding them from condemnation."
The American diplomat met with President Volodymyr Zelensky to reaffirm the U.S. "ironclad and unwavering commitment to the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine."
Both discussed holding Russia accountable for its war crimes, the unprecedented food and security crisis waged by Russia, and the need to ensure that Ukraine has everything it needs to prepare for winter.
The UN-backed grain deal, which Russia left for five days in late October, was among the key issues discussed.
On Oct. 29, Russia said it was suspending its participation in the grain deal due to an alleged drone attack on Russian warships in the occupied Crimean port of Sevastopol. Russia blamed the Ukrainian military for using the "grain corridor" to conduct the strike.
On Nov. 2, Russia announced it would continue its participation in the deal that allows grain shipments from Ukraine via the Black Sea.
The day before, Putin told Erdogan that his country would only return to the grain agreement in case an investigation of the Sevastopol attack is conducted and Ukraine gives "real guarantees" of not using the grain corridor for military purposes.
Ukraine has never officially confirmed attacking Russian-occupied Sevastopol, while no independent inquiries were made. Meanwhile, Russia continues to attack Ukraine's civilian infrastructure while facing defeats on the battlefield.
Thomas-Greenfield also addressed concerns over recent reporting suggesting that U.S. officials allegedly encouraged Zelensky to signal an openness to negotiate with Russia.
Zelensky said in his video address on Nov. 7 that he was ready to open negotiations with Russia only on conditions of the restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity in compliance with the U.N. charter, compensation for damages, as well as the punishment of those involved in war crimes committed in Ukraine.
Thomas-Greenfield said Russia would have to honor Ukraine's borders, abide by the UN Charter and take its troops out of Ukraine's occupied territories.
"Ukraine has to be in the driver's seat," she said.