Ukraine Latest: UN Chief Upbraids Russia as Lavrov Watches

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a violation of the UN Charter as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov listened impassively during a Security Council meeting on Monday.

(Bloomberg) — United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a violation of the UN Charter as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov listened impassively during a Security Council meeting on Monday.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba made an urgent appeal to European Union counterparts for additional supplies of military equipment and ammunition ahead of an expected intensification of fighting.

Kuleba spoke to EU ministers gathered in Luxembourg by video link and also reiterated a request for sophisticated fighter jets. “There are no rational arguments why Ukraine cannot get modern Western-type combat aircraft and I am convinced that this decision will be made,” he said in an emailed statement.

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(All times CET)

Top Intelligence Official Warns of Digital Repression (2 a.m.)

Countries including China, Iran and Russia are deploying digital repression more frequently to target dissent both at home and beyond their borders, the top US intelligence official said, raising the alarm about the erosion of democratic norms worldwide.

Invasive spyware, disinformation and other technological tools pose a grave threat to US national security, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said Monday. Even worse, she added, artificial intelligence can enable regimes to head off efforts to counter them. 

Haines singled out Russia for passing laws that censored opposition to its invasion of Ukraine and imprisoning people who spread so-called “fake news.” Iran and China, she said, had curtailed digital speech, domestically and elsewhere.

UN Chief Blasts Russia as Lavrov Looks On (5:15 p.m.)

Russia’s invasion “is causing massive suffering and devastation to the country and its people,” Guterres said. “We must find a way forward and act now as we have done before to stop the slide toward chaos and conflict.”

Russia’s top diplomat is in New York this week to lead sessions of the Security Council as part of Russia’s month-long rotating presidency of the body. 

Moscow chose “Defense of the UN Charter” as the topic of Monday’s session. EU ambassadors denounced that as cynical in light of Russia’s invasion and the fact that the charter calls on all UN members to respect each other’s sovereignty.

No End in Sight to Ukraine War, Says Estonian Commander (3:30 p.m.)

There is nothing that could lead to a peaceful resolution in Ukraine short of the disintegration of Russia into smaller and less powerful countries, Estonia’s military chief, Martin Herem, said in a television interview.

“I don’t see a happy ending to the Ukraine war,” Herem said.

For countries like Estonia, that means that they need to prepare for a permanent security threat on their borders, the general said. “Essentially we are increasingly today moving toward Israel’s situation, which means that we are constantly ready for something to start to happen. Not today or tomorrow, but the times are not becoming more peaceful,” Herem added.

US Opposes Ukrainian Attacks in Russian Territory (2 p.m.) 

The US doesn’t support Ukrainian attacks into Russia, a top official said after a report that Ukrainian leaders contemplated a strike on Moscow.

The Washington Post reported Monday that the plan was considered around the first anniversary of the war, but the US urged against it. Speaking on MSNBC, National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby neither confirmed nor denied the report, but said the US has urged Ukraine not to attack outside its borders.

“We do not encourage nor do we enable the Ukrainians to strike outside their country into Russia,” he said. “We don’t want to see this war escalate.”

‘Ukrainian’ Drone With Explosives Found Near Moscow, Tass Reports (1:45 p.m.)

A “Ukrainian-made drone stuffed with explosives” crashed in a forest in the Bogorodsky district outside Moscow and was found by a local resident, Russia’s state-run Tass news service reported, citing municipal chief Igor Sukhin as saying on Telegram, without indicating how he knew the aircraft’s origin.

Tass also reported Russian law enforcement claims that the drone was Ukrainian and had a range of up to 900 kilometers (560 miles).

Russia has accused Ukraine of carrying out a number of drone strikes on military airfields, including ones close to Moscow, in recent months. Ukraine hasn’t commented on the attacks.

Russia’s Defeat ‘Most Important Task’: Kuleba (12:45 p.m.)

Kuleba told EU ministers that Ukraine quickly needs more armored vehicles, tanks and artillery systems and that further strengthening the country’s air defenses is vital.

Looking further ahead, he urged allies to expand logistics and maintenance hubs, and increase training opportunities for Ukrainian troops. “Russia’s defeat is a guarantee of normal life for Europe, there isn’t a more important task now,” Kuleba said.

German Lobby Wants Company Blacklist (12 p.m.)

Germany’s BDI industry lobby said companies outside the EU that supply Russia with sanctioned goods should be blacklisted and called for a centralized control mechanism to help enforce punitive measures on the government in Moscow.

“Russia has created an increasingly sophisticated system for avoiding trade restrictions,” Wolfgang Niedermark, a BDI board member, said in a position paper published Monday. “A central control instrument is urgently needed to enforce the embargo.”

Military Spending Rises to Record (10 a.m.)

Global military spending rose to a record last year, spurred by a policy U-turn in Europe where governments boosted capabilities by the most since the end of the Cold War.

Defense expenditure increased by 3.7% in real terms to reach a record high of $2.24 trillion in 2022, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. About half the annual increase was due to Ukraine’s ballooning military budget, data for the eastern European country that excludes foreign aid showed.

Italy’s Tajani Touts Reconstruction Conference (9:30 a.m.)

More than 1,000 companies are expected to take part in a conference on Ukraine reconstruction in Rome on Wednesday, according to Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani.

The conference is a chance for Italy to demonstrate solidarity beyond the military sphere and also signal support for “a people who are defending their own freedom,” Tajani told reporters in Luxembourg. Italy intends to play a leading role in rebuilding Ukraine, particularly in sectors such as infrastructure, transport, agribusiness, energy and digital technology, according to Tajani’s ministry.

EU Still Divided on Ammunition Plan: Borrell (12:15 p.m.)

The EU remains divided on plans to jointly spend €1 billion ($1.1 billion) to buy ammunition for Ukraine, according to Josep Borrell, the bloc’s foreign policy chief.

“There is still some disagreement but I am sure everybody will understand that we are in a situation of extreme urgency,” Borrell told reporters before the EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said the speed of deliveries of ammunition is the key factor now for Ukraine. If there are delays, Ukrainian forces “might not push as far as and as successfully as they could with our assistance,” Landsbergis told reporters.

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