The United Nations told its staff not to refer to Russia’s attack on Ukraine as a “war” or “invasion,” according to The Irish Times.
The organization instructed staff to refer to Russia’s invasion as a “conflict” or “military offensive,” the Irish Times reported. It also reportedly told its staff not to add the Ukrainian flag to personal or professional social media accounts.
“Some specific examples of language to use/not use at the moment,” an email to U.N. staff read, the Irish Times reported. “[USE] ‘conflict’ or ‘military offensive’ and NOT ‘war’ or ‘invasion’ when referring to the situation in Ukraine.”
The email said the policy existed to avoid a “reputational risk” and serve as a “reminder that we, as international civil servants, have a responsibility to be impartial,” the Irish Times reported. Russia holds one of five permanent seats on the U.N. Security Council.
The Kremlin has referred to its invasion as a “special military operation,” and it has claimed it deployed its soldiers to “de-Nazify” Ukraine. A Russian media regulator ordered local news outlets to purge reporting that included the words “assault,” “invasion” or “declaration of war,” or risk being fined or blocked, the Irish Times reported.
Russia launched its invasion in late February after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the independence of two separatist-controlled regions in eastern Ukraine. Over 2 million people have fled the country since the attack began, according to the U.N. refugee agency.
Moscow announced a list of demands it said Ukraine needed to meet in order for it to end its invasion on Monday. It ordered Ukraine to cease all military action, alter its constitution to enshrine its neutrality from Western pacts and NATO, recognize Crimea as part of Russia and recognize its two the separatist republics of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent.
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