Russian aggression must be stopped and together we can do that, was the plea of Ukrainian President Zelensky at the UN General Assembly in New York. He also announced that he will present details of the “peace formula” drawn up by Ukraine at a meeting of the UN Security Council tomorrow.
It was the first time since the outbreak of war that the Ukrainian leader spoke at the UN building. He reiterated his message that the “evil” Kremlin does not shy away from any strategy. “We know the names of tens of thousands of children who have been abducted and have evidence of hundreds of thousands more abducted by Russia.”
In addition to genocide, he accused Russia of manipulating global food prices for the purpose of international recognition for occupied territory. The Russian UN representative was looking at his phone as Zelensky spoke. “Evil cannot be trusted, just ask Prigozhin,” the Ukrainian president sneered at Russia, referring to the fallen leader of the Russian mercenary army Wagner Group.
Zelensky warned that “many seats in the General Assembly may remain empty” due to Russia’s expansionism:
He did not specifically ask for more weapons for Ukraine, but more generally for unity. “We must act together to defeat the aggressor,” he said in English. The president referred to the peace plan drawn up by Ukraine.
Ten-point plan for peace
For months, Kyiv has been engaged in a diplomatic offensive to gain as much support as possible for the ten-point plan. Zelensky stated that more than 140 countries have expressed full or partial support for the proposal. He promised tomorrow to provide a detailed explanation of the plan, which would also be useful for other armed conflicts.
In 2022, Zelensky addressed the General Assembly in a recorded video message. He said at the time that Ukraine was capable of regaining all the territories lost to Russia. “We can do that with the power of weapons, but we need time.”
A year later, that message is still relevant. Ukraine has since retaken areas such as the major city of Kherson, but the counter-offensive is still in full swing. Russia occupies a significant part of southeastern Ukraine, including Crimea.
Additional ammunition, weapons and other military support therefore remain desperately needed, NATO chief Stoltenberg reiterated today in an interview with the Reuters news agency.
The US has now pledged around $111 billion in humanitarian and military aid, reports think tank CSIS. Congress is expected to agree to the additional $24 billion requested by President Biden.
But divisions in American politics over how much more Ukraine should get are growing, especially with next year’s presidential elections looming.
The subject is also a divisive issue within the UN. Emerging superpowers China, India, South Africa and Brazil do not go along with the Western rhetoric that Russia must be dealt with harshly and Ukraine must receive military aid.
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