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Embassies call out Russian ambassador's 'lies' in Ukraine opinion piece

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com
Embassies call out Russian ambassador's 'lies' in Ukraine opinion piece
In this Dec. 2, 2020 photo, Russian Ambassador Marat Pavlov presents his Letter of Credence to President Rodrigo Duterte as the new resident Ambassador to the Philippines during the virtual Presentation of Credentials at the Malacañang Palace.
Presidential Communications

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 3:58 p.m.) — An opinion piece by Russia's ambassador to the Philippines explaining his country's view on Ukraine has prompted several envoys to call out what they said were lies and untruths on the invasion.

British Ambassador Laure Beaufils described Russian Ambassador Marat Pavlov's piece published on The STAR's Diplomatic Pouch column as "shocking."

"Upsetting to see these lies in print," Laure said in a Twitter post. 

In his piece published Thursday, Pavlov echoed the earlier statement of Russian President Vladimir Putin that the "special operation" of Russian troops is aimed at the "demilitarization and denazification" of Ukraine. The article, originally published by The STAR, has been removed from Philstar.com to prevent online disinformation.

Pavlov also insisted that Moscow "has no plans to occupy Ukraine."

Beaufils, meanwhile, rejected Pavlov's statements.

"Let's be clear: Russia invaded a sovereign state. It is committing war crimes and shows complete disregard for international law & civilian life," Beaufils said.

French Ambassador Michèle Boccoz, European Union Ambassador Luc Véron and Ambassador Grete Sillasen of Denmark shared similar sentiments.

Boccoz pointed out that the Russia's invasion of Ukraine is illegal and unprovoked.

"The fact is that innocent people are dying because Russia continues to ignore calls, including from [UN Director General Antonio Guterres], the UNGA, and the ICJ, to stop its offensives," Boccoz said.

Veron, meanwhile, described the Russian ambassador's op-ed as "blatant untruths" and called for help in fighting disinformation.

"Plain truth is that Russia has invaded Ukraine and attacking its population. Russia disregards sovereignty and territorial integrity," the EU envoy said.

The embassy of Denmark also tweeted its reaction to the Russian ambassador's opinion piece.

Citing the Russian envoy's "dangerous disinformation" for the invasion, Irish Ambassador William Carlos emphasized that the "truth is Russia invaded an independent Ukraine."

German Ambassador Anke Reiffenstuel said "there is no justification at all for Russia's aggression" while Austrian Ambassador Bita Rasoulian pointed out that the attempt to justify the attack against Ukraine is "futile and unacceptable."

Civilian casualties in Ukraine

While Pavlov claimed that Russian forces do not carry out missile, air and artillery strikes against cities and civilians, the United Nations human rights office has recorded 1,900 civilian casualties as of March 16.

According to the UN office, 726 civilians have been killed and 1,174 injured since Russia's invasion of Ukraine started on February 24.

"Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multiple-launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes," the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights said.

The UN human rights office added that the actual figures are "considerably higher."

The UN migration office had also recorded more than 3 million people from Ukraine who have fled to neighboring countries.

"[Three] million lives uprooted. 3 million women, children and vulnerable people separated from their loved ones," UN International Organization for Migration chief Antonio Vitorino said.

The United States, Britain, France, Albania, Norway and Ireland have requested an emergency UN Security Council meeting Thursday because of the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Ukraine, diplomatic sources said.

"Russia is committing war crimes and targeting civilians," the British diplomatic mission to the UN said Wednesday on its Twitter account. "Russia's illegal war on Ukraine is a threat to us all."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky likened Russia's invasion to 9/11 and the attack on Pearl Harbor which drew the US into World War II.

"Remember Pearl Harbor, terrible morning of December 7, 1941, when your sky was black from the planes attacking you," Zelensky said in a video address from Kyiv, recalling the air raid that brought the United States into World War II.

"Protect our sky," he said. — with AFP

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As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: October 18, 2023 - 10:13am

President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday secured Turkey's crucial backing for Ukraine's NATO aspirations after winning a US pledge for cluster munitions that could inflict massive damage on Russian forces on the battlefield.

Washington's decision to deliver the controversial weapons — banned across a large part of the world but not in Russia or Ukraine — dramatically ups the stakes in the war, which entered its 500th day Saturday.

Zelensky has been travelling across Europe trying to secure bigger and better weapons for his outmatched army, which has launched a long-awaited counteroffensive that is progressing less swiftly than Ukraine's allies had hoped. — AFP

October 18, 2023 - 10:13am

Washington's decision to supply Ukraine with ATACMS long-range missiles is "a grave mistake", Russian ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov says Wednesday.

"The White House's decision to send long-range missiles to Ukrainians is a grave mistake. The consequences of this step, which was deliberately hidden from the public, will be of the most serious nature," he says in a statement. — AFP

October 15, 2023 - 3:26pm

President Vladimir Putin says Sunday that Russian forces had made gains in their Ukraine offensive including in Avdiivka, a symbolic industrial hub.

"Our troops are improving their position in almost all of this area, which is quite vast," he says in an interview on Russian television, an extract of which was posted on social media on Sunday. "This concerns the areas of Kupiansk, Zaporizhia and Avdiivka." — AFP

October 12, 2023 - 12:48pm

The regional governor says debris from a drone destroyed over the Russian region of Belgorod, which borders Ukraine, fell on homes and killed three people, including a young child.

The air defense system "shot down an aircraft-type UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) approaching the city", says Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov, adding that the falling debris destroyed several homes.

"Most importantly, three people were killed, one of them a small child," he writes on the Telegram messaging app, accompanied by pictures of a house reduced to a pile of rubble behind red and white police tape. — AFP

October 10, 2023 - 2:18pm

Ukraine's air force says on Tuesday that it had destroyed 27 of 36 Russian attack drones overnight in the south of the country.

Ukrainian forces downed 27 "Shahed-136/131" drones in the southern Kherson, Mykolaiv and Odesa regions, the air force said on the messaging platform Telegram.

In all, Moscow had launched 36 of the Iranian-made drones from the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014, it says. — AFP

October 6, 2023 - 7:28pm

The Kremlin claims on Friday Russian forces never targeted civilian infrastructure after Ukraine blamed Moscow for a missile attack that killed over 50 people in the eastern village of Groza.

"We repeat that the Russian military does not strike civilian targets. Strikes are carried out on military targets, on places where military personnel are concentrated," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says in his daily briefing. — AFP

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