Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden is due to join Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky in criticising Russia at the UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting in New York.
Mr Dowden is expected to rebuke Russia for destroying large quantities of grain and say the “hungry and malnourished people of the developing world” are also victims of its “war of choice”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has not travelled to the US for the General Assembly but his foreign minister Sergei Lavrov is expected to be present at the UNSC meeting.
The meeting will be the first time Mr Zelensky has attended the Security Council in person since Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, and could see him confront senior Russian officials face to face at an international organisation for the first time since then.
Mr Zelensky has previously spoken to the UNSC virtually.
He has already taken to the podium at the UN General Assembly in New York to accuse Russia of “weaponising” everything from food and energy to abducted children.
And while touring a hospital in the city, Mr Zelensky asked if “Russian terrorists” should be able to attend the UN gathering.
Mr Dowden is expected to tell the UNSC: “Russian attacks have destroyed over 280,000 tonnes of grain, enough to feed over 1.25 million people for a year – the hungry and malnourished people of the developing world are Russia’s victims too.”
He is also expected to say: “When it fuels its war with arms from sanctioned states like Iran and DPR, violating UN Security Council resolutions and undermining our shared determination to counter proliferation.
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine – 20 September 2023.
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“When it conducts sham elections – most recently this month – in Ukraine’s sovereign territory after 143 member states condemned Russia’s attempt to annex further parts of sovereign Ukrainian territory, nearly one year ago.
“The truth is that Russia knows the power of collective action because it tries so hard to weaken and divide the international community.”
Mr Dowden is also due to announce a £3 million UK contribution to the UN World Food Programme.
Mr Dowden is also expected to praise the Ukrainian counteroffensive, saying: “They have shown on the battlefield that they are capable of restoring the sovereignty and territorial integrity that must be the foundations of this peace.”
And he will highlight the need for “effective multilateralism” to secure peace, restore grain flows and help Ukraine in its recovery.
The UN Security Council has five permanent members – the UK, US, China, Russia and France, with 10 non-permanent members elected for two-year terms.