By Emma Farge
GENEVA (Reuters) -British foreign minister Liz Truss told a U.N. rights forum on Tuesday that Russia was becoming a “global pariah” and urged countries to isolate it further in response to the invasion of Ukraine launched by Moscow last week.
Accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of “industrial scale” rights violations, she told the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council that Britain and its allies were “working to squeeze the Putin regime harder and harder by steadily tightening the vice”.
“I urge nations to condemn Russia’s appalling actions, and isolate it on the international stage,” Truss said.
Britain, like Russia, is a voting member of the 47-member U.N. forum. While the body’s decisions are not legally binding, it can send messages that carry political weight and authorise probes into violations, like the one some members are seeking for possible war crimes in Ukraine.
In the same speech, Truss said that Putin was “violating human rights on an industrial scale and the world will not stand for it”. “Together, we have the moral duty to stand up to aggression – especially when it comes from members of this very council,” she said.
Directing her remarks at Russia’s delegate, she continued: “It (Russia) should be ashamed to sit in this chamber.”
Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” designed not to occupy territory but to destroy its southern neighbour’s military capabilities and capture what it regards as dangerous nationalists.
It was not immediately given the opportunity to respond to the allegations in the forum. In comments on Monday, Russia’s ambassador in Geneva Gennady Gatilov said its forces were not firing on civilian targets in Ukraine.
British diplomats also took part in a Western-led boycott of speeches by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov at two U.N.-based forums in Geneva on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Stephanie Nebehay and Catherine Evans)