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US, UK walk out of Russia-led UN meeting as official wanted on war crimes charges speaks

The US, the UK, Albania and Malta walked out of a Russia-led UN meeting as Moscow's envoy for children's rights, wanted by the ICC for war crimes, began speaking to the Security Council.

The U.S., U.K, Albania and Malta walked out of a Russia-led United Nations meeting Wednesday as Moscow’s envoy for children's rights, wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes, began speaking to the Security Council by webcast. 

The U.S. and Britain also reportedly blocked the video from being broadcast on the UN’s website, reported Reuters. 

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Linda Thomas-Greenfield told reporters that the diplomats blocked the webcast as Russian Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova began speaking, to ensure that she was not granted "an international podium to spread disinformation and to try to defend her horrible actions that are taking place in Ukraine."

RUSSIA TAKES OVER PRESIDENCY OF UN SECURITY COUNCIL; ‘BAD OPTICS’ FOR WEST, PROPAGANDA WIN FOR PUTIN: EXPERTS

Last month, the ICC levied arrest warrants against Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lvova-Belova after accusing them of illegally deporting children from Ukraine to Russia, following nearly a year’s worth of investigations into numerous alleged war crimes.

Russia has dismissed the warrants and said they were invalid, as Moscow does not recognize the authority of the ICC.

While the international community has accused Russia of illegally deporting children, some of whom were separated from their families in Ukraine, the Kremlin has positioned it as a humanitarian aid program. 

During her address to UN diplomats, Lvova-Belova reportedly showed images of Ukrainian children and claimed, "I want to stress that unlike the Ukrainian side, we don't use children for propaganda."

UK TURNS RUSSOPHOBIA ARGUMENT ON MOSCOW, CLAIMS GREATEST THREAT TO RUSSIAN SOCIETY IS WAR IN UKRAINE

Moscow has admitted to transporting children across its borders, and on Wednesday Lvova-Belova said that some five million Ukrainians, including 700,000 children, had traveled to Russia in the more than 13 months since Russia’s invasion, reported Reuters.

The Kremlin’s envoy also said that 2,000 children from orphanages had traveled to Russia with custodians – 1,300 of which had allegedly returned to Ukraine, while 400 remained in Russian orphanages and 358 children had reportedly been placed in Russian foster homes.

"Russia claims it is protecting these children. Instead, this is a calculated policy that seeks to erase Ukrainian identity and statehood," British envoy Asima Ghazi-Bouillon reportedly told fellow diplomats after returning to the room, once Lvova-Belova had finished speaking. 

While it is rare for a speaker to be blocked from the public UN broadcast, it has become increasingly common as geopolitical divides in the UN Security Council deepen, with China blocking a U.S.-convened meeting on human rights abuses in North Korea last month, said Reuters. 

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