Ineke Mules for AL JAZEERA
Russia has been left perturbed at the UNHCR’s second committee session after discussion turned to the refugee crisis in the Ukraine.
The delegate for the United Kingdom pressed Russia over the issue of the extent of their involvement in the Crimean crisis; namely their responsibility over the growing number of refugees.
The delegate for the UK also implied that Russia was actively seeking conflict with the Ukraine and its allies, albeit not through hard power.
Russia countered the attack by downplaying its influence in the region, claiming that it is “not Russia’s fault” that there is an apparent strong pro-Russian sentiment among many Ukrainians and that “sometimes these things just happen.”
Venezuela defended the comments against the Russian delegate, characterising the Ukrainian crisis as a Western intervention spearheaded by the US.
Georgia and Chechnya were referenced by the US delegate in an attempt to further implicate Russia, although the director quickly returned the moderated caucus to the original subject of refugees.
Although a ceasefire is currently in effect in eastern Ukraine, the UNHCR reports that there are still tens of thousands of displaced people seeking jobs and safety over the Russian border.
An estimated 814,000 Ukrainian citizens have entered Russia since the beginning of the year according to migration authorities, leading to a temporary refugee camp being set up outside the small border town of Donetsk.
Russia’s closing statements of “this is getting tedious” and “we have nuclear weapons” were not well received by the majority of other delegates.