Speaking to the press at the end of an extraordinary meeting of EU diplomacy heads, at which a second package of sanctions was adopted against Moscow for the military aggression against Ukraine, Santos Silva insisted on “expressing Portugal’s solidarity with the United Nations”. and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who has in recent hours been the victim of an absolutely unfounded and obscene personal attack on the part of disinformation campaigns orchestrated from Russia”.
The EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, who chairs the Councils of Foreign Affairs Ministers of the 27, also addressed the issue at the final press conference, after announcing the inclusion in the EU sanctions list of the Russian president himself. , Vladimir Putin, and the head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov.
“Putin launched a war against a neighbor during an urgent session of the United Nations Security Council on Ukraine. It shows the respect that Russia has for this institution. And now they are verbally attacking even the Secretary General!” Borrell exclaimed.
The head of European diplomacy, in an indignant tone, reinforced that “the Secretary-General of the United Nations is being attacked by Russia for speaking in favor of peace and respect for international rules”.
Last Wednesday, Lavrov accused António Guterres of having succumbed to pressure from the West by making statements about the situation in Ukraine that “are not in keeping with his status” as Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Santos Silva also welcomed “the decision taken today by the Council of Europe to suspend Russia immediately from all activities of the Council of Europe, because it is the body created in Europe to promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and Therefore, an aggressor Russia, a Russia that so blatantly ignores the minimum rules of civilized behavior between nations, has no place in the Council of Europe”.
The Portuguese minister commented that the ongoing political effort to isolate Russia internationally, namely at the level of the United Nations General Assembly, is “very, very important”, but added that “the economic sanctions that hurt”, such as those today adopted by the 27, “are also very important, because, clearly, President Putin only seems to understand the language of force”.
Tensions between the West and Russia have escalated after, last Thursday at dawn, Russia launched a military offensive in Ukraine, with ground forces and bombing targets in several cities, which has already provoked at least more than 120 dead, including civilians, and hundreds wounded, in Ukrainian territory, according to Kiev. The UN reported 100,000 displaced people on the first day of fighting.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the “special military operation” in Ukraine aims to “demilitarize and denazify” its neighbor and that it was the only way for the country to defend itself, with the Kremlin specifying that the offensive will last as long as necessary, depending on of its “results” and “relevance”.
The attack was condemned by the international community in general and prompted emergency meetings of several governments, including the Portuguese, and of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union and the UN Security Council, with mass sanctions being approved against the Russia.