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Britain blocks UN webcast of Russian meeting on Ukraine

Britain blocks UN webcast of Russian meeting on Ukraine

Britain has blocked the UN webcast of an informal Security Council meeting on Wednesday after Russia signaled its commissioner for children’s rights — who the International Criminal Court wants to arrest on war crimes charges — would speak, diplomats said.
Russia has told council members in a note, seen by Reuters on Tuesday, that the discussion about Ukraine will focus on “evacuating children from conflict zone” and signaled that the commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova, will address the meeting.

Such meetings are held at UN headquarters, but not in the Security Council chamber, and briefings can be done virtually. All 15 council members have to agree to allow it to be webcast by the United Nations.

Britain blocked the webcast because Russia would not confirm who would brief, diplomats said on Tuesday. Russia’s Deputy UN Ambassador Dmitry Polyanskiy confirmed Britain’s move on Twitter.

“Russia will from now on block UN webcasts of all similar meetings citing ‘UK censorship clause’,” Polyanskiy wrote.

Russia has not yet confirmed who will speak at the briefing.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) last month issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lvova-Belova, accusing them of illegally deporting hundreds of children from Ukraine and the unlawful transfer of people to Russia from Ukraine since Moscow invaded on Feb. 24, 2022.

Moscow has not concealed a program under which it has brought thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia but presents it as a humanitarian campaign to protect orphans and children abandoned in the war zone.

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters last month that the informal meeting of Security Council members to be held on Wednesday had been planned long before the ICC announcement and it was not intended to be a rebuttal of the charges against Putin and Lvova-Belova.

Diplomats have said it is rare for a UN webcast to be blocked. However, last month China blocked the UN webcast of a US-convened informal Security Council meeting on human rights abuses in North Korea.
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