The United Nations Security Council met Thursday to discuss the Ukraine crisis for the 24th time this year, after reports indicated that Russian soldiers and weapons had crossed the border into eastern Ukraine to support insurgents there.
Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said that Russia is not pulling back in Ukraine as it has repeatedly promised to do.
"Russia has come before UNSC to say everything except truth. It has manipulated. It has obfuscated. It has outright lied," Power said. "We have learned to measure Russia by its actions, not its words. In last 48 hours, Russia's actions have spoken volumes."
This week, Russia sent armored troops and other military equipment into eastern Ukraine in at least three separate trips. On Thursday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared a "Russian invasion" of his country. Also on Thursday, NATO released satellite imagery that it says shows Russian armed forces inside Ukraine. The agency said that more than 1,000 Russian soldiers have now joined pro-Russia separatists. The rebel leader in the region had previously told a Russian television network that 3,000 to 4,000 Russian soldiers had arrived there to help.
Russia has denied that it is providing support to separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Western officials believe Russia mobilized these military movements to provide reinforcements to pro-Russia separatists recently weakened by attacks from the Ukrainian military. The rebels have been fighting with Ukrainian forces since April, a month after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula. More than 2,000 people have died in the conflict.
"Russia has to stop lying and has to stop fueling this conflict," Power said.
Vitaly Churkin, the Russian ambassador to the U.N., put the blame for the recent escalation on Ukraine. "Didn't you understand what kinds of consequences this could lead to?" he said, referring to Ukraine's attempts to drive separatists out. "We know our region. We know how close our ties are. This was an obvious step toward escalation. Insurgents couldn't just lay down their weapons and give up and leave for Russia."
In other words, the separatist movement in eastern Ukraine is far from over.