Accusations flew back and forth between the US and Russia at a heated United Nations Security Council meeting on the Ukraine crisis Monday, with Russia's ambassador to the UN saying the US had brought "pure Nazis" to power in the country. Vasily Nebenzya accused the US of "provoking escalation" by claiming Russia is planning to invade Ukraine and said the US is "making heroes out of those peoples who fought on the side of Hitler," the Washington Post reports. In her opening remarks, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the "situation we are facing in Europe is urgent and dangerous" and warned that the buildup of Russian forces along Ukraine's border shows a familiar pattern of aggression.
Thomas-Greenfield asked council members how they would feel "if you had 100,000 troops sitting on your border," reports the New York Times. Nebenzya argued that the US was creating "hysteria." He pointed to the false claims of weapons of mass destruction before the 2003 invasion of Iraq and claimed the US was airing a "hodgepodge of accusations but no specific facts." Thomas-Greenfield said Russia was "attempting, without any factual basis, to paint Ukraine and Western countries as the aggressors to fabricate a pretext for attack." She said the buildup of Russian forces was "the largest mobilization" Europe has seen in decades.
The meeting adjourned with no action taken, but there will be more talks between top diplomats from the US, Russia, and the UK in the days to come, the Times reports. The AP notes that Russia attempted to block the open meeting of the 15-member council but the vote to proceed was 10-2 in favor, with three members abstaining and only China voting with Russia. Western officials have warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could happen at any time, though in what could mark the start of de-escalation, Moscow says around 9,000 troops that had been on exercises in the region are returning to barracks, the Post reports. (Read more Ukraine stories.)