At the United Nations Security Council on Thursday, sparring between Russia and the West centered on the supply of foreign weapons and military equipment to Ukraine on a day when the United States announced it would allocate an additional $675 million in military supplies.
Russia accused the United States and Europe of launching “the largest proxy war” against it through Ukraine, while U.S. officials shot back that Russia was the “sole aggressor” in a brutal and unnecessary war.
Thursday was the third consecutive day that the 15-member Council met this week on the conflict in Ukraine. The Council convened on Tuesday on the deteriorating security at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant and on Wednesday to discuss the forced deportation of up to 1.6 million Ukrainians to Russia or Russian-controlled territory.
Vasily Nebenzya, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, told the Council that the notion that modern Western weapons could determine the course of Russia’s military operation was an “empty fantasy.”
“Western weaponry is not playing a decisive role in the battlefield, regardless of what the Ukrainians and their vassals are saying,” Mr. Nebenzya said. He also challenged Washington’s latest assertion that Russia was buying military drones from Iran and rockets and artillery shells from North Korea and asked for evidence.
During the meeting, Izumi Nakamitsu, the U.N.’s top official for disarmament affairs, said that Ukraine’s receiving weapons and military equipment from other countries had been a matter of public record since the conflict began in February. She added that there were also widespread and verified reports of heavy weaponry, including artillery rocket systems, going to local armed groups in Ukraine.
“Large-scale influx of weapons to conflict-affected zones raises many concerns, including potential for diversion,” Ms. Nakamitsu noted. She added that beyond the supply issue, the effect of weapons on Ukrainian civilians and infrastructure had been devastating.
China said the flow of arms to Ukraine would only complicate the conflict. Geng Shuang, China’s deputy ambassador, warned that strife in places like Afghanistan and Somalia had shown that Western-supplied weapons could easily end up in the hands of terrorist groups and militias.
Richard Mills, the U.S. deputy ambassador, rejected Russia’s assertions that the West was prolonging or escalating the war, calling them “cynical attempts to deflect attention from Moscow’s role as the sole aggressor in what is an unnecessary and brutal war, for which the world is paying a collective price.”
France affirmed its support for Ukraine.
“This military assistance will continue for as long as armed Russian aggression will continue, as we will continue our humanitarian and political assistance to Ukraine,” said Nicolas de Rivière, the ambassador from France, which holds the rotating Council presidency this month.
The additional military supplies from the United States were part of a $2.8 billion package of support pledged by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken during a surprise visit to Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, on Thursday. Just over $2 billion of that would go to help strengthen the military capabilities of Ukraine and neighboring countries threatened by a Russian invasion.
Ukraine has launched an offensive in the south to reclaim territory from Russian forces and urged the West to build on the momentum by providing its troops with more military aid. American officials said the new shipment of military equipment to Ukraine would include 105-millimeter howitzers, artillery ammunition, vehicles, anti-armor weapons and guided rockets.
Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations, Sergiy Kyslytsya, told the Council that Ukraine would fight until the last Russian soldier occupying its territory was defeated.