On Saturday, right before a U.N. Security Council vote to declare Sunday’s referendum in Crimea invalid, American ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power went over to speak with
Russian ambassador to the U.N. Vitaly Churkin.
As you can see, Power is slightly animated while Churkin is straight-faced. Two members of Churkin’s staff, standing behind the ambassadors, are laughing.
Russia subsequently vetoed the draft resolution. Now armed men, presumably Russian soldiers, control the strategic Black Sea peninsula while the referendum is being carried out.
Here’s what NPR’s Michele Kelemen reported from the session:
“U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power says the resolution was aimed at finding a peaceful solution and upholding U.N. principles on the sovereignty of its member states.
“Russia’s ambassador says the people of Crimea should be able to determine their own future because, he says, a coup in Kiev left a power vacuum. Ambassador Power says Russia’s position is at odds with international and Ukrainian law, and with the facts.”
The Kremlin has made a habit of vetoing UNSC resolutions, particularly those with regards to the ongoing war in Syria. With regards to both Syria and Crimea, U.S. diplomats have pushed for political solutions while Russia has largely stifled them.
Here’s what geopolitical expert Ian Bremmer of the Eurasia Group had to say about the picture:
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