Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on the United Nations to punish Moscow for its aggression, called for a special court and asked Russia to strip the UN Security Council of its veto power.
“A crime has been committed against Ukraine and we demand punishment only,” Zelenskyy said in a pre-recorded speech to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) sent just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced mobilize 300,000 reserves nearly seven months after he first ordered troops to cross the border into Ukraine.
Zelenskyy, wearing his trademark khaki t-shirt, said Kyiv has a five-point plan to establish a lasting peace, which includes not only punishing Moscow for its aggression, but restoring it as well. security and territorial integrity of Ukraine and provide security. guaranteed.
“Punishment for aggression. Penalties for violating borders and territorial integrity. Punishment must be carried out until internationally recognized borders are restored,” he told the panel, along with his wife, Olena Zelenska, among those present in the auditorium.
It was Zelenskyy’s first time addressing world leaders together since the Russian invasion, and several delegations stood and applauded at the end of the speech. Russia and a number of other delegations remained seated.
Zelenskyy expressed disdain for the Moscow talks, saying that their actions speak louder than their words.
“They talked about the talks but announced the deployment of the army. They talk about negotiations but publish fake referendums in the occupied territories of Ukraine,” he said.
On Wednesday, Russian-backed separatists in four occupied regions of Ukraine announced they would hold referendum on whether to become part of Russia for four days starting September 23.
Russia does not completely control any of the four regions where they plan to keep what Ukraine and its allies have condemned as “fake” votes.
Russian forces have been accused of war crimes in many parts of the country they have occupied. Russia denies the accusations and says it is not targeting civilians.
Russia is yet to speak at UNGA and Putin is not in New York to attend the event.
Zelenskyy’s speech was one of the most anticipated at the annual meeting, which was dominated by war in his country. Officials from many countries have expressed their concern over the situation, saying that Russia’s invasion undermines the UN’s fundamental principles, including peace, dialogue and respect for sovereignty.
Moldova President Maia Sandu, who shares a border with Ukraine, said: “It is an attack on this very institution where we find ourselves today.
US President Joe Biden also focused heavily on the war in Ukraine when he spoke before the conference.
“This war is aimed at stamping out Ukraine’s right to exist as a state, plain and simple, and Ukraine’s right to exist as a people. Whoever you are, where you live, whatever you believe, it’s going to get your blood cold,” he said. “If nations can pursue their imperial ambitions without consequences, then we risk everything this institution itself stands for. Everything.”
The fighting has prompted moves against Russia in several UN agencies, especially after Moscow vetoed a UN Security Council resolution issued days after the invasion. demand that Russia stop its attack on Ukraine.
The veto led to action in the broader General Assembly, voted overwhelmingly in March to express Russian aggression towards Ukraine, called for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of all Russian forces, and called for the protection of millions of civilians. Resolutions at the meeting are not binding, but do not have veto power.
The following month, a few fewer but still commanding member states voted to suspend Russia from the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Last week, the UNGA overwhelmingly voted to allow Zelenskyy to make the video address even as the summit returned in person to the entire United Nations headquarters in New York following the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. out.
But there were several attempts and Zelenskyy did not let them out of sight.
“I want to thank the 101 countries that voted for my video address to take place. It’s a vote not only on form. It’s a vote of principles. Only seven countries voted against: Belarus, Cuba, North Korea, Eritrea, Nicaragua, Russia and Syria,” Zelenskyy said. “Seven. Seven people are scared about the video address. Seven people meet the rule with a red button. Only seven. One hundred and one – and seven. “
There were also 19 abstentions.