U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is the latest U.S. leader to speak out against Russia over its aggression toward Ukraine this past weekend.
Haley spoke at an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting on Monday, during which she criticized Russia’s actions and reiterated the United States’ support for Ukraine.
“What we witnessed this weekend is yet another reckless Russian escalation,” Haley said.
Watch her speech below:
Haley described Russia’s sudden aggression to Ukraine’s presence in the Kerch Strait, despite both countries frequently traveling in the waterway.
“This time, Russia decided to prevent passage of the Ukrainian ships, rammed them, and then opened fire on them,” she noted.
On Sunday, Russia rammed a Ukrainian navy tugboat, fired on two other Ukrainian naval boats, and seized all three – including 23 sailors.
“Impeding Ukraine’s lawful transit through the Kerch Strait is a violation under international law. It is an arrogant act that the international community must condemn and will never accept,” Haley said.
Earlier in the day, Russia also scrambled two jets to monitor Ukraine’s naval activity. However, their aggression in the Kerch Strait has been going on far longer than that, as Haley noted.
“In May, the United States condemned Russia’s construction and opening of the Kerch Strait bridge between Russia and occupied Crimea. In August, the United States condemned Russia’s harassment of international shipping in the Sea of Asov and the Kerch Strait,” she said.
Haley then reiterated U.S. support for Ukraine, and called on European nations to do the same, while condemning Russia’s actions.
Amb @nikkihaley is clear – Russia’s actions against Ukraine is a violation under international law. Russia must cease its unlawful conduct and respect the rights and freedoms of all states. https://t.co/2mznyXZUEs
— Ambassador Johnson (@USAmbUK) November 26, 2018
“The United States will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine against the Russian aggression. It is our expectation that our European partners will lead this effort through the Normandy Four format, which we support,” she said.
“We call on Russia to respect its international obligations and not obstruct or harass Ukraine’s transit in the Kerch Strait, and to de-escalate the tensions it has created,” Haley said. “As President Trump said many times, the United States would welcome a normal relationship with Russia, but outlaw actions like this one continue to make that impossible.”
Haley also warned Russia of further implications caused by any continued actions.
“The United States will maintain its Crimea-related sanctions against Russia. Further Russian escalation of this kind will only make matters worse. It will further undermine Russia’s standing in the world. It will further sour Russia’s relations with the U.S. and many other countries. It will further increase tensions with Ukraine,” she said.
Haley concluded by making a final call to Russia, saying, “In the name of international peace and security, Russia must immediately cease its unlawful conduct and respect the navigational rights and freedoms of all states.”