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No heat for Russia at the diplomatic conference on Antarctica

BERLIN– Russia received a chilly reception Tuesday at the start of an international conference on the management and protection of Antarctica, a rare point of diplomatic contact between Russia and other nations since the start of the war in Ukraine.

Dozens of countries are attending a 10-day meeting in Berlin to review the Antarctic Treaty, which was forged in 1959 to ensure the continent remains science-based and weapon-free.

Russia is represented by an official from its embassy in Germany, and other delegates participated remotely via video link.

Opening the meeting, a senior German official spoke directly to the Russian presence, saying it was “not an easy decision to meet here in Berlin at the negotiating table while an advisory party is waging war on another consultative party”.

Jennifer Morgan, the former head of Greenpeace who was recently named Germany’s climate envoy, accused Russia of waging “an unjustifiable, unprovoked and unlawful war of aggression against Ukraine”, according to a draft written by his remarks.

She called on Moscow to immediately comply with a UN resolution demanding an end to the war and the withdrawal of Russian troops “from all territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders”.

It was not immediately clear if or how Russian officials responded.

While Russian leaders have strongly defended the country’s attack on Ukraine – which Moscow calls a “special military operation” rather than a war – some Russian officials have expressed apprehension.

On Monday, a veteran diplomat at the Russian mission to the United Nations in Geneva announced his resignation in a scathing letter, saying “never have I been so ashamed of my country as on February 24 of this year” – the date of the Russian invasion. from Ukraine.

The Antarctic Treaty has long been considered an example of successful international cooperation for the benefit of mankind.

“It’s something we want to preserve – and that although the loss of confidence in the aggressor party in terms of meeting international obligations is evident,” Morgan said.

Russia is one of several countries that operate scientific bases in Antarctica, including the second-southern, year-round station in Antarctica after the US Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.

ABC News

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