US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield called on other United Nations member states to hold Russia accountable for invading Ukraine in remarks at a UN General Assembly emergency special session on Ukraine, which she noted was the first such session in 40 years.
Thomas-Greenfield said Russian forces are destroying infrastructure vital to the Ukrainian people, and Russian President Vladimir Putin seems poised to ramp up the invasion.
"We have seen videos of Russian forces moving exceptionally lethal weaponry into Ukraine, which has no place on the battlefield. That includes cluster munitions and vacuum bombs – which are banned under the Geneva Convention. We have seen the 40-mile-long lethal convoy charging toward Kyiv. President Putin continues to escalate – putting Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert, threatening to invade Finland and Sweden. At every step of the way, Russia has betrayed the United Nations. Russia’s actions go against everything this body stands for," she said.
Some background: A Russian thermobaric multiple rockets launcher was spotted by CNN team south of Belgorod, Russia, near the Ukrainian border early Saturday afternoon. They are sometimes called “vacuum bombs” because they suck in the oxygen from the surrounding air to generate a powerful explosion and a large pressure wave that can have enormous destructive effects. There is no evidence that thermobaric weapons have been used in the conflict in Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has appealed for more help to face down the Russian assault as a 40-mile Russian military convoy continues to edge towards Kyiv.
What Biden has said: US President Joe Biden earlier today was asked if he believed Russia is committing war crimes, to which he responded, “We are following it very closely. It’s too early to say that.”
In her remarks, Thomas-Greenfield also praised Russian citizens protesting against the war and urged Russian soldiers to put down their weapons, placing the blame for the war solely at the feet of Putin.
"The truth is that this war was one man’s choice and one man alone: President Putin. It was his choice to force hundreds of thousands of people to stuff their lives into backpacks and flee the country. To send newborn babies into makeshift bomb shelters. To make children with cancer huddle in hospital basements, interrupting their treatments, essentially sentencing them to death. Those were President Putin’s choices. Now it is time to make ours," she said.
A cutaway camera from the UN showed the Russian ambassador listening through headphones.
She concluded by encouraging member states to vote to approve a resolution criticizing Russia for the Ukraine invasion.
CNN's Kristina Sgueglia contributed to this report.
Correction: The US ambassador to the UN said the US has seen video evidence of banned weapons being moved into Ukraine. She did not address if those weapons have been used.