U.S., Russia clash over Ukraine at UN Security Council meeting

The standoff between Russia and the West over Ukraine sparked a stormy debate Monday. During a United Nations Security Council meeting, Russia accused the U.S. of inciting panic as the U.S. continued to press Russia to de-escalate its troop presence along Ukraine's border. Stephanie Sy reports.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The standoff between Russia and the West over Ukraine has sparked a stormy debate today at the United Nations.

    Russia accused the U.S. of bringing Nazis to power in Kyiv. The United States said it's Moscow that's guilty of aggressive moves.

    Stephanie Sy reports.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    In the United Nations Security Council today, a fractious discussion over the crisis in Ukraine.

    Russia accused the U.S., which called the meeting, of inciting panic, and attempted to shut it down.

    Vasily Nebenzya, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations (through translator): The open format for discussion proposed by the U.S. on this extremely sensitive topic is making this a classic example of megaphone diplomacy.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    But the meeting continued, with Russia in the hot seat.

    The U.S. pushed the Kremlin to de-escalate its military buildup along its border with Ukraine.

    Linda Thomas Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations: This is the largest — hear me clearly — mobilization of troops in Europe in decades. And, as we speak, Russia is sending even more forces and arms to join them.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    Diplomats from around the world urged Russia to stand down, or face consequences.

    James Kariuki, U.K. Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations: In the best-case scenario, the scale of the Russian forces assembled on three sides of Ukraine is deeply destabilizing. In the worst case, it is preparations for a military invasion of sovereign country.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    But the Russian envoy again denied plans to attack Ukraine, charging the U.S. with escalating tensions.

  • Vasily Nebenzya (through translator):

    The discussions about a threat of war is provocative, in and of itself. You are almost calling for this. You want it to happen.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    The U.S. and its NATO allies have rejected Moscow's demands NATO pull back troops from Eastern Europe and ban Ukraine from ever joining the alliance.

    Ukrainian officials today said they had the right to decide their own treaties and alliances.

    At the White House, President Biden called the Security Council meeting a critical step against Russia's military posture.

  • President Joe Biden:

    We continue to urge diplomacy as the best way forward. But, with Russia continuing its buildup of its forces around Ukraine, we are ready, no matter what happens.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    For weeks, Russia has massed more than 100,000 troops along Ukraine's borders, and has now begun joint military drills in neighboring Belarus.

    In Ukraine's east, Ukrainian forces continue military drills. Meanwhile, volunteers in Kyiv have begun self-defense training.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Stephanie Sy.

Listen to this Segment