The UN Security Council roundly rejected on Friday a Russian request to have a representative from a pro-Kremlin Russian breakaway group address the body.
A majority of the council's 15 members -- 8 states -- voted against extending an invitation to Daria Morazova, the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). Just four nations voted in favor, including Russia, while three others abstained.
The DPR is a pro-Russian separatist group that operates in parts of eastern Ukraine currently occupied by Moscow's forces. Russia claimed to annex it along with the whole of Ukraine's Donbass region, in September.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Washington's UN envoy, said the attempt to have Morazova address the council "is a blatant and transparent attempt to have the council appear to legitimize the Russian Federation's illegal attempted annexation, and to implicitly extend recognition to illegitimate authorities."
"The United States will not support any attempt to legitimize the Russian Federation's illegal attempted annexation of another UN member state's territory and will therefore vote no and urge others to do the same," she added.
Russia, however, said having the "humanitarian activist" from speaking is "a matter of freedom of speech."
"Contrary to allegations of Western delegations, your support will in no way indicate the recognition of any international legal realities whatsoever," Amb. Vassily Nebenzia said.
Source: Anadolu Agency