UNITED NATIONS (AN) — Russia's full-scale invasion of democratic Ukraine on Thursday set off global alarm over the rise of a new Cold War and dire challenges to power structures and international organizations ranging from the U.N. Security Council to NATO.
The United States prepared an emergency resolution to take to the 15-nation council, the United Nations' powerful arm, after Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to launch Europe's biggest ground war since World War II.
The invasion also threatens the credibility of the U.N.'s post-war power structure, since Russia holds one of the 15-nation council's five permanent veto-wielding seats along with Britain, China, France and the United States. Elections are held in the U.N. General Assembly for the other ten revolving two-year council seats.
“Russia has embarked on a path of evil, but Ukraine is defending itself and won’t give up its freedom,” Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. "This is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe."
Zelenskyy said Russian “subversive groups” were bearing down on the capital Kyiv, increasingly under siege from a bombing campaign. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Russian forces deployed from Belarus had drawn close to Kyiv and the United States was looking at how to bolster Ukraine's defenses.
'Russia will pay'
Putin has justified his aggressive moves as defensive actions required to guard against a threat posed by the U.S. interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan and NATO's expansion in the post-Soviet years.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as breakaway states from Georgia in 2008.
NATO said it condemned Russia’s "horrifying attack" on Ukraine, which it called a grave violation of international law and the U.N. Charter, and contradictory to Russia's commitments under the Charter of Paris and several other treaties.
"Russia will pay a very heavy economic and political price. NATO will continue to coordinate closely with relevant stakeholders and other international organizations, including the E.U.," the Brussels-based military alliance said.
In an op-ed article, The New York Times declared in its headline: "Mr. Putin Launches a Second Cold War."