Russian Delegation Walk Out On Ukrainian President's U.N. Speech

The Russian delegation to the U.N. walked out of the New York assembly during Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's speech, one of the delegates told Russian state news agency Itar-Tass.

"We left the hall as a symbol of protest against the openly politicized and aggressive speech, which was totally not in accordance with the theme of the summit," an anonymous but high-ranking Russian diplomat told Tass.

According to him, only one Russian delegate remained in the room while the Ukrainian leader spoke on Sunday. When asked why Russia's delegation did not all leave, the diplomat defended the decision to have at least one representative sit through Poroshenko's speech, saying, "The Russian side is accustomed to listening to its opponents and not leaving their public appearances entirely without attention."

Poroshenko's speech, published in full on the Ukrainian president's website, makes several references to the conflict in the east of the country that may have invoked the ire of the Russian delegation.

In the speech, the Ukrainian president said that Ukraine loses about $5 million a day from state funds because of the war in its eastern regions. He also estimated that the country has lost around one fifth of its economic potential because of damage to critical infrastructure during fighting.

Poroshenko blamed "Russia's military action against Ukraine" for increasing environmental hazards in Ukrainian territory and for heightening the risk of social isolation for Ukrainian people. He also said the "treacherous Russian annexation of Crimea and aggression on Donbas" had led to the deaths of thousands of people.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is due to meet his U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama on Monday, and according to the White House spokesperson, Obama is keen to highlight Russia's role in the Ukrainian crisis,

Russia refuses to refer to its actions in Crimea as an "annexation," and Russian officials, lawmakers and state media instead use the terms "reunification" or "adhesion." Russia also denies sending any troops or lethal assistance to separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, despite evidence of the contrary showcased by Ukraine, OSCE and international NGOs.