US and Russia clash at UN over North Korea and Patriot missiles in Ukraine

Written by Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United States accused Russia on Tuesday of firing at least nine missiles provided by North Korea into Ukraine, while Moscow described Washington as a “direct partner” in the downing of a Russian military transport plane last month.

Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzia, and the US Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations, Robert Wood, exchanged accusations during a UN Security Council meeting regarding Ukraine at the request of Moscow. Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine about two years ago.

“To date, Russia has launched North Korean-supplied ballistic missiles against Ukraine on at least nine occasions,” Wood told the 15-member Security Council, using North Korea’s official name: the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

He added: “Russia and the DPRK must be held accountable for their actions that undermine long-standing commitments under UN Security Council resolutions.”

Moscow and Pyongyang denied the US accusations, but pledged last year to deepen military relations. Russia has strengthened its relations with North Korea and other countries hostile to the United States, such as Iran, since the beginning of the war with Ukraine, which are a source of concern to the West.

A Russian Air Force Il-76 aircraft fell from the sky on January 24. Russia said all 74 people on board, including 65 captured Ukrainian soldiers, were on their way to be exchanged for Russian prisoners of war, and blamed Kiev for shooting down the plane. .

“We have conclusive evidence that a Patriot surface-to-air missile was used to carry out the strike, which leaves no doubt that Washington is a direct partner in this crime as well,” Nebenzia told the Security Council.

Russian investigators said last week that they had evidence proving that the Ukrainian army shot down the military transport plane with US-made Patriot surface-to-air missiles.

Russia asked the council to meet on Tuesday after it said Ukraine killed at least 28 people when it used Western-supplied missiles to hit a bakery and restaurant on Saturday in Russian-controlled eastern Ukraine.

Senior Ukrainian diplomat at the United Nations, Serhiy Dvornik, accused Russia of misusing the Security Council to “spread fake news.”

Wood said the United States had been unable to independently verify the information — blaming a lack of independent media reporting — but he was sorry for all civilian casualties. He added: “To be clear, Russia is the only aggressor in this war, and the only one that can end this war today.”

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Additional reporting by Ronald Popeski; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

(Tags for translation) North Korea

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