Russia's diplomat was in charge of the UN Security Council meeting as Putin declared war

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Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia attends the United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine with Russia, in New York City, U.S., February 23, 2022.
  • Vladimir Putin announced an attack on Ukraine on Wednesday night.
  • The Russian President told Ukrainians to give up their weapons.
  • The UN Security Council meeting was meant as an effort to deter Russia from sending troops into Ukraine. 
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As Russian President Vladimir Putin announced an attack on Ukraine, his ambassador to the United Nations was in charge of the UN Security Council meeting late Wednesday night. 

As the Security Council discussed ways to avoid a war, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military offensive against Ukraine in a video that aired early on Thursday morning in Russia.

Russian envoy Vassily Nebenzia faced off with Ukraine's UN ambassador, Sergiy Kyslytsya, in a tense exchange amid the emergency meeting in New York. 

"It was about 48 minutes ago your president declared the war on Ukraine," Kyslytsya said to Nebenzia. "So now I would like to ask the ambassador of the Russian federation to say on the record that at this very moment your troops do not shell and bomb Ukrainian cities, that your troops do not move into the territory of Ukraine.

Kyslytsya demanded Nebenzia call Russian leaders to confirm an attack wasn't taking place amid reports by Ukrainian authorities and media outlets that explosions were heard outside numerous cities.

Kyslytsya added that Nebenzia should give up control of the Security Council, and pass the responsibility on to a "legitimate member of the security council, a member that is respectful of the charter." 

Nebenzia allowed other diplomats from members of the council, including the US, UK, Germany, and France, to comment. All denounced Russia's actions.

Ukraine's representative later ripped into the Russian diplomat, warning him that war criminals "go straight to hell." Nebenzia then adjourned the meeting.

Nebenzia's tenure as Security Council president is a one-month stint that ends in March when the United Arab Emirates will take over. The presidency of the council rotates between nations.

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