Russia boycotts Ukraine meeting at UN after Moscow's guest blocked from speaking

Russia boycotts Ukraine meeting at UN after Moscow's guest blocked from speaking

Security Council convenes 2 separate meetings on same day to discuss Ukraine after Russia's withdrawal from Black Sea grain deal, attacks on Ukrainian port cities

By Betul Yuruk

UNITED NATIONS (AA) - Russia boycotted a meeting Wednesday at the UN Security Council on Ukraine when one of its guests from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church was blocked from speaking in the chamber.

The Security Council convened two separate meetings on the same day to discuss Ukraine that were requested by Russia and Kyiv for the third time since Russia's withdrawal from the Black Sea grain deal and ramped-up attacks on Ukrainian port cities, including Odesa.

The historical Transfiguration Cathedral, Odesa's largest Orthodox Christian church, was also damaged by strikes.

Moscow denied it bombed the Cathedral and blamed Ukraine for the attack.

Russia accused Kyiv of persecuting the Ukrainian Orthodox Church and invited Archbishop Gideon to brief the Security Council but the Council objected to the invite.

Kyiv accuses the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of having ties to Russia and supporting the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia then boycotted the second meeting requested by Ukraine to discuss Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian port cities following the collapse of the grain deal.

Russia's Deputy Ambassador to the UN, Dmitry Polyanskiy, accused the UK, which is the president of the Security Council for July, of blocking Gideon.

''We really are very much shocked by the behavior of the British presidency, and that's why we decided to protest and not to speak at the next meeting,'' said Polyanskiy.

The US accused Russia of wasting the Council’s time with another ''sham'' meeting.

''The attack on the historic Transfiguration Cathedral was just one of the many attacks Russia has carried out in the Odesa region this week,'' said US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield. ''The loss of Ukrainian cultural heritage is staggering and it is truly shameful.''

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