Moscow faced down the world by vetoing a United Nations Security Council resolution "deploring" the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The vote was 11 in favour, with Russia voting no and China, India and the United Arab Emirates abstaining, which showed significant but not total opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of his country's smaller and militarily weaker neighbour.
“Let us never forget that this is a war of choice. Russia's choice. Russia chose to invade its neighbour," US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told the session.
In response, Russian UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia reiterated his country's claims that it is standing up for people in eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists have been fighting the government for eight years. He accused the West of ignoring Ukrainian abuses there.
The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, rejected in very clear terms Russia's aggression towards Ukraine while stressing the need to keep the door to diplomacy open.
"The United Nations was born out of the war to end the war," said Guterres. "Today, that objective was not achieved. But we must never give up. We must give peace another chance. Soldiers need to return to their barracks. Leaders need to turn the path of dialogue and peace."
In a gesture of outright rejection of Russia's actions, most security council members held up the Ukrainian flag against a backdrop of a tapestry of Picasso's 'Guernica', considered one of the most powerful anti-war paintings in history.