Source: Daily Mail
A Latvian politician was so furious that a Moscow delegation was allowed to attend a UN security meeting that he quoted Ukrainian Snake Island defenders and told them: 'Russian warship, go f*** yourself'.
During his extraordinary and passionate speech, Rihards Kols said it was 'a disgrace' that Vladimir Putin's delegates were allowed to attend the gathering in Vienna.
Kols, who was visibly seething during his blistering speech, said he could no longer sit in the same room as the Russian lawmakers and act as if 'nothing had happened' when thousands of Ukrainians had been killed since Putin invaded a year ago.
At one point, Kols pointed towards the Russian delegation, accusing them of being war criminals before he quoted Ukrainian sailors who defiantly defended Snake Island against the Russian navy.
Kols seethed as he said: 'I will convey a message to the Russian Federation delegation sitting in this room and I will quote the Ukrainian border guards. Russian warship, go f*** yourself.'
That message of defiance - which was shouted across a radio by Ukrainian sailors after Putin's troops had ordered them to surrender Snake Island - has come to symbolize the Ukrainian resistance in the face of Russian aggression.
The 19 Ukrainian soldiers on the island were thought dead after Russian troops on the warship Moskva bombarded the island with artillery fire, but they miraculously survived and were given awards upon being returned to Ukrainian soil in a prisoner transfer last year.
Kols, his chair draped in a Ukrainian flag, quoted those soldiers during the meeting of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe to discuss Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
In a scathing speech, he said: 'We say that we stand up for our principles and values and statutes and we don't. I mean there's an elephant in this room which is called by name the Russian Federation delegation.'
'I mean, if I were a witness and somebody asked me who is the war criminal, well I would point to the back benches in this room,' Kol said as he pointed to where the Russian delegation was sitting.
Kol, who was visibly angry at this stage, said: 'It's a disgrace that this delegation is here. Particularly the delegation that consists of members who are sanctioned in Russia, individuals who voted to annex an independent country's territory.' He listed off Donetsk, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and iLuhansk on his hand.
The Latvian politician, raising his voice further, added: 'Those are the principles that this institution has vouched to protect and guard. And we're sitting here like nothing is happening.'
Later, as a Russian lawmaker began speaking at the meeting, a large number of delegates walked out of the room in protest.
Austria granted the Russian lawmakers visas even though they are under European Union sanctions and despite protests from 20 countries including Britain, France and Canada.
Austria's government said that as host nation it was obliged to grant visas to representatives from all OSCE member nations. Delegates from Ukraine and Lithuania did not attend the meeting in protest over Russia's attendance.
The Vienna-based OSCE, whose 57 members include both Ukraine and Russia, was created during the Cold War as a platform for dialogue between East and West.
The group has a wide-ranging mission, including peace, human rights, arms control and other security issues.
A Slovak delegate read out a statement from the Ukrainian delegation that said 'the presence of these warmongers in Vienna is an affront to everything that the OSCE stands for.'
They are not here for genuine dialogue nor for cooperation,' it added. 'They are here to spread their propaganda ... they are here to try and justify the war crimes they have committed and desecrate the principles of international law and human decency.'