UN Secretary Antonio Guterres berated Russia for its actions, calling its decision to put its nuclear arsenal on higher alert a “chilling development”.
“This escalation of violence, which leads to civilian deaths, including children, is completely unacceptable. Enough is enough!. . . the fighting in Ukraine must stop,” Guterres said in his opening remarks at a rare special emergency session of the UN General Assembly that even a Russian veto could not prevent. Urging Moscow to pull back its troops, Guterres said Russia’s nuclear posturing was “simply inconceivable”, adding, “nothing can justify the use of nuclear weapons”.
The White House said it sees “no reason to change” its nuclear alert levels at this time as it sought to ignore the nuclear-baiting while escalating sanctions. The Biden administration lined up more financial sanctions against Russian entities and its central bank, and even large private banks and equity firms joined in the strike against Moscow.
There were few takers for the Russian narrative that it was provoked into taking action after Ukrainian excesses on its people in the Donbas region, among other long-standing grievances, including security concerns as NATO and EU cornered it.
Delegates speaking on behalf of EU and Nordic countries all lashed out at Moscow for choosing military options, with even Switzerland breaking its historically neutral status to join in the sanctions against Russia.
About the only country that offered a modicum of support to Russia (till the time of writing; India has not spoken yet) was China, which while urging de-escalation and dialogue, said the “legitimate security concerns of all countries including Russia” must be recognised. The Chinese envoy to UN also criticised the continuing Cold War mentality of forming blocs and alliances in a clear smackdown of NATO.
On a day of rapid geo-political developments, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which its officials insisted was not aimed at a permanent occupation, pushed Ukraine into applying for membership of the European Union.


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