Sky News’ Mr Phillips was lost for words after the Deputy Russian Ambassador to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy accused Ukraine of shelling innocent civilians. Mr Polyanskiy made the staggering accusation, as he blamed Ukraine on instigating the tensions on the border with Russia. He said that Russia was on high alert for an attack from Ukraine, which he claimed had amassed “120,000 troops on its line of contact with the Donbas”.
He said it was Ukrainian troops, not Russian ones, that were threatening peace in the region.
Mr Phillips asked the Russian diplomat: “Would you be as relaxed if the Ukrainians had done the same as Russia.
“Let’s say they had moved 50,000 troops within a kilometre of the Russian border. Would you be as relaxed with that?”
Mr Polyanskiy responded: “We are not relaxed and you are close to the truth because Ukraine has 120,000 troops on the line of contact with Donbas.
“They started shelling Donbas yesterday.”
When pressed on what he was accusing Ukraine of, Mr Polyanskiy said: “I am accusing them of shelling a peaceful population in Donbas.
“This is quite obvious. It is not from satellites, it is from people on the ground. Even the OSCE monitoring report said this.
“When you have 120,000 troops in full capacity to strike at the border, at the line of contact, you have to think about aggression.
“It’s not Russian troops on Russian territory.”
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated that his nation will not respond to provocations.
On Saturday, two Ukrainian soldiers were killed, marking the third day of clashes between Ukraine’s military and Russian-backed rebels.
The Ukrainian defence ministry says it also recorded 122 violations by Russian forces, including 108 involving weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements.
Eastern Ukraine, including the separatist Donetsk and Luhansk regions, has been at the centre of hostilities in recent days.