The Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelensky, asked this Wednesday the creation of a “special court to punish Russian crimes” and urged world leaders to strip Russia of its vote in international institutions and its right to veto in the UN Security Council, stating that offenders must be punished and isolated.
The UN General Assembly broadcast Zelensky’s long-awaited speech by video hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization of reservists to promote its war against Ukraine.
Although Zelensky had not yet commented on the event, he said that his forces “can return the Ukrainian flag to our entire territory. We can do it with force of arms. But we need time.”
also demanded a punishment for Russia, which includes a ban on voting in international organizations and exercising its veto in the Security Council. “As long as the aggressor is part of decision-making in international organizations, he must be isolated of them,” Zelensky said.
It is not yet Russia’s turn to speak at the meeting. Putin has said that he sent his armed forces to Ukraine because of the security risks to his country from what he sees as a hostile government in kyiv; to free Russians living in Ukraine – especially in its eastern region of Donbas – from what he sees as the oppression of the Ukrainian government; and to restore what he considers to be Russia’s historic territorial claims in the country.
The war has dominated the world gathering, which comes nearly seven months after Russia launched what has become the largest military conflict in Europe since World War II.
Reflecting the circumstances, Zelenskyy was not on the august rostrum where other presidents, prime ministers and monarchs speak at the most important annual gathering of international diplomacy. Instead he got a exception to talk on video.
As a permanent member of its most powerful entity, the Security Council, Russia was able to veto the demand to stop its attack on Ukraine days after it began.
However, the move that angered other countries led to action this spring in the broader General Assembly, where resolutions are non-binding but there are no vetoes.
The Assembly voted overwhelmingly in March to deplore Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, call for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of all Russian forces, and urge the protection of millions of civilians. The following month, a smaller but still larger number of members voted in favor of suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council.
Putin’s decree on Wednesday on partial mobilization was scant on details. The authorities said that some 300,000 reservists.
It’s an apparent effort to build on momentum after a Ukrainian counteroffensive this month retook swathes of territory the Russians had held.
But the first such convocation in Russia since World War II also brings the fight home in a new way for Russians and it risks fueling internal anxiety and antipathy towards war.
Shortly after Putin’s announcement, flights out of the country filled up quicklyas people rushed to book one-way tickets and prices skyrocketed. Hundreds of people were arrested at anti-war demonstrations across the country.
A day earlier, Russian-controlled areas in eastern and southern Ukraine announced plans to referendum to become part of Russia. Ukrainian leaders and their Western allies consider the votes illegitimate.
(By Jennifer Peltz- AP)
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