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Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations broke a minute’s silence for Ukraine as diplomats from both countries met at a Security Council meeting on the anniversary of their war.

At the end of his speech in the hall, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba proposed a tribute “in memory of the victims of the aggression”.

While everyone in the council chamber rose in silence, the Russian envoy to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzia, remained in his seat and asked to speak.

He then broke the silence and said: “We stand up to honor all the victims of what has happened in Ukraine since 2014 – all those who have died.”

His use of 2014 and the double emphasis on the word “all” referred to Russia’s claims that the conflict began that year after the pro-Moscow president of Ukraine was removed from office by mass protests.

The Kremlin responded by seizing the Crimean peninsula and supporting an uprising in the predominantly Russian-speaking Donbass region, which has now also been annexed by Putin.

Nebenzia continued, “All lives are priceless, and so we rise to honor the memory of them all.”

Vassily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations, speaks at a session of the UN Security Council (Photo: AP)

He previously accused Malta, which holds the rotating presidency, of preferring Ukraine to speak first simply because it is “part of your geopolitical project”.

He also dismissed the foreign ministers of 14 European countries on the speaker list, along with European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, saying they all have the same EU position “and will not add value to the debate “.

Maltese foreign minister Ian Borg replied that European ministers had flown to New York and asked to speak because “they feel their country has been and is being directly affected by this war”.

Kuleba told the council that “Ukraine will resist as it has done so far, and Ukraine will win.” And he stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “going to lose much faster than he thinks”.

Opening the meeting, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recalled his plea for peace just before Russian troops and tanks crossed the border on February 24 last year.

He similarly reiterated his warning that the war could be the worst since the turn of the century, affecting not only Russia and Ukraine, but possibly the global economy – all of which proved true over the past year.

The UN chief complained that “peace had no chance” and “war dominates the day”, leading to widespread death, destruction and displacement, forcing 17.6 million Ukrainians, nearly 40% of the population, to provide humanitarian aid and aid. look for protection. .