Published time: 20 Feb, 2017 23:51
On many occasions over the decade that he served as Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin has countered attacks by Western diplomats with a pointed turn of phrase. RT looks at six such moments from Churkin’s distinguished career.
The US envoy to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad, received this response from Churkin on August 29, 2008, after he condemned Russia’s “invasion” of Georgia.
The five-day conflict started when US-backed Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili launched an attack on Russian peacekeepers in the breakaway region on South Ossetia. Russian forces responded by dismantling Georgia’s NATO-trained military, retreating from the country, and recognizing Ossetia’s independence.
This was Churkin’s reply to UK envoy Matthew Rycroft on February 3, 2017, after Rycroft called Russia’s position on Ukraine an “inversion of reality” and seconded new US Ambassador Nikki Haley’s demand for Russia to “return Crimea” to Ukraine.
“The people of Crimea quite clearly expressed their will in a referendum,” Churkin told Haley, pointing out that the US Constitution begins with the phrase, “We, the people.”
Churkin had this tongue-in-cheek retort for then US ambassador Samantha Power, after she spoke of meeting with the members of “Pussy Riot” on February 6, 2014. The self-described punk-rock activists gained notoriety in Russia and fame in the West after three of their members were arrested for a “performance” at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral in 2012.
That is how Churkin commented on Power’s emotional speech about the humanitarian situation in Aleppo, where the US-backed rebels were losing a battle to the Russian-backed Syrian Army, on December 13, 2016.
“Please, remember which country you represent. Please, remember the track record of your country,” Churkin told her.
That is how Churkin reacted to a report about the situation in Aleppo by Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien, on October 27, 2016.
“Give us one fact, please, or leave this kind of storytelling for the novel you may well write later,” the Russian envoy told O’Brien.
Speaking at the UN General Assembly on May 11, 2016, Churkin called on world leaders to remember the organization’s founding principles.
“One should not seek to expand their sphere of control, as it is happening as result of the unrestrained NATO expansion. One should not strive for military dominance, the way US aims to do by creating the global missile defense system,” he added.
“Instead, we should go back to the origins of sensible political thinking, to the slogan ‘the world is undivided,’ to the understanding that the wish to ensure your own security at the expense of others only undermines security globally.”