Western ambassadors on the U.N. Security Council demanded an end to what they said was Russia’s false propaganda and “fantasy narrative” on the escalating crisis in Ukraine, warning that such distortions could inflame the volatile situation, news agency Reuters reports.
“The systematic and targeted propaganda war against Ukraine and its provisional leadership, is an extremely dangerous game,” Lithuania’s U.N. Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaite, who requested Wednesday’s special meeting, told the 15-nation council.
The council met on Wednesday to discuss a report on the Ukraine submitted to the United Nations by Assistant Secretary-General for human rights Ivan Simonovic. That report said ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine have falsely claimed to be under assault to justify Russian intervention.
Simonovic told the council there were attacks on ethnic Russians in Ukraine though they were “neither systematic nor widespread.”
“They were isolated incidents which were then exaggerated through some biased media reporting, fuelling fear and insecurity amongst the ethnic Russian community,” he said.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin echoed Moscow’s previous condemnation of the report, saying it was biased, one-sided and seemed to have been fabricated to fit pre-formed conclusions.
Last month the U.N. General Assembly voted to condemn the annexation of Crimea and the secession vote. As a result of the General Assembly decision, all U.N. agencies continue to treat Crimea as part of Ukraine, not a Russian province.
Britain Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant decried what he said was Russia’s “fantasy narrative” on Ukraine. French envoy Gerard Araud spoke of Moscow’s “virtual reality” propaganda that had been knocked down by Simonovic’s report.
U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power spoke of Russia’s “well orchestrated professional campaign of incitement, separatism and sabotage of the Ukrainian state” along with “weeks of Russian disinformation and propaganda.”
“We urge the U.N. to continue to provide independent reporting and not to be deterred by slander and intimidation being practiced by those who do not like facts that have proven inconvenient and truths that credibly refute Russia’s false and self-justifying claims,” Power added.
Russia had no strong defenders during the council meeting. Its traditional ally on the Security Council, China, simply described the crisis as “extremely complex” and called for a de-escalation of tensions.
Wednesday’s council session on Ukraine comes ahead of a peace conference on Thursday in Geneva of foreign ministers from Russia, Ukraine, the United States and European Union.